How do Personal Injury Lawyers get Paid?
Most personal injury lawyers work on the basis of no win, no fee. This is also known as a contingent fee or conditional fee arrangement. The fee of the personal injury lawyer is usually a percentage of the compensation. This can be anywhere from ten percent to more than forty percent depending on the specifics of a case. The simplest cases that get settled out of court or are the easiest to prove have the smallest percentages. Complicated cases and especially those cases that may go to trial, possibly an appeal thereafter, will demand a much higher fee. Although the range seems vast, the average is usually thirty to thirty five percent.
Personal injury lawyers usually do not charge by the hour. There is no consultation fee or fixed fee. This is primarily because hourly charges can be steep and a fixed fee is not in the best interest of the injured person, who is in this case the plaintiff. An injured person has already suffered and paying legal fees without knowing for certain if there will be a fair compensation in the end will discourage most people from taking legal action against their employer, a business establishment, doctor, individual or the city, district or state. Some personal injury lawyers ask for a small advance that often gets adjusted in the eventual fee based on the contingency of winning the case.
Costs associated with a Personal Injury Claim / Lawsuit
The personal injury lawyer’s fee is only a part of the total legal costs. There are court costs including filing charges and deposition fees if the case goes to trial. The lawyer will have to arrange for fees charged by investigators. Expert witnesses may have to be roped in, all of whom will charge a fee. There are costs incurred during research, to prepare the trial exhibits, copying and faxing, office expenses and postage, specific types of legal research, costs to obtain medical reports and police investigation reports as well as travel costs in some instances. All such costs will be included in the total that would be accounted for while paying the lawyer. Most lawyers will offer a breakdown of each of these costs.
Pros and Cons of Contingent Fee
Personal injury lawyers may have to spend a lot of time on a case if it drags on, from one trial to another appeal and possibly subsequent appeals. A standard fee may not be reasonable for such cases. Also, most people would not want to spend money when they have a valid claim. A contingent fee is the best possible solution. Injured people do not pay anything if they don’t win. They pay a part of their compensation if they win, which seems fair. In some instances, a contingent fee may seem to be too much to pay a lawyer, especially if there is temporary or permanent disability and the compensation is substantial. But such is the nature of a contingent fee. The lawyer doesn’t stand to gain anything if the case is settled in favor of the defendant.
If you are getting ready to go take the bar exam, you may be getting a little bit antsy wondering how challenging it is going to be. The job market is extremely competitive and you have been working really hard, but is it hard enough? Depending on the state that you live in, you may be concerned about what the overall passing rate is in your state. It is so important to be able to pass the test. So that being said, it is also very important to know how hard you have to study in order to pass with flying colors.
Fortunately, there was a list of states compiled showing which states had the most difficult bar exams. This is based on a variety of factors such as the calculated pass rate as well as the overall pass rate. Here is the list of the toughest states to take the bar exam in.
- West Virginia
Apparently, most experts expected California to top the list. However, New York was expected to crack the top 10 but they didn’t. So why is it so hard in California? For starters it is one of the biggest states in the U.S and there are a lot of attorneys in California. The competition is fierce so they want to make the bar exam more difficult for you to pass. There is a lot to prepare for when you are an attorney in California. They do not want you to pass the bar exam and then get out into the real world and fail miserably. Honestly, it is a good thing that the exam is more difficult. It prepares you for the real world.
According to recent studies, Washington D.C. has the highest concentration of attorneys than any other state. It is not a big shock to find out that there are a lot of attorneys in D.C. However, there may be many of them that are not actually employed. So there may be a lot of them residing in D.C but many of them are not even practicing. So it might be time to relocate to a state who needs more lawyers so you can actually start practicing law again!
There is no real rhyme or reason as to why some bar exams are more difficult than others. According to Sacramento DUI Attorney Michael Rehm, who passed both the California & New York bar exams on his first attempt, many fail who would make great lawyers and vice versa. Some might make the exam harder to challenge law students and to make sure they are fully prepared for what is to come. Many people believe that the harder the exam is the better. You will be more prepared for practicing law out in the real world and you won’t be quite a shell-shocked. So no matter which state that you live in, make sure you are studying hard and are fully prepared for the exam. Because you never know, your state may be the next one to raise the bar.
Experience is the first thing to consider before hiring an attorney. You don’t need to hire the one who is working from the last decade, instead go for the one who has experience in the same field, which resembles to your case. The lawyers who already has solved a similar type of case can be hired but not in a hurry.
- Make a list of some specified lawyers.
- Investigate them.
- Try to know more about the type of cases they have been fighting for.
- Contact some of your friends or neighbor who know that lawyer. Figure out the pros and cons about him.
Try to know more about their studies. How were they back then and what can they do now? Before choosing one, meet or contact them from the list.
When you contact one from the list, ask them to meet you once free of charge and tell them that you will decide later about hiring. If not, then ask him how much it costs for consultation. Do not involve in a long talk. The maximum time that most Attorney’s will allow for a consultation, is one hour.
From the list, try another one whom you think is good for you. Do the same what you did with the previous one. Do not forget to note down some key words before meeting them, some of them might ask you about the papers to review.
Do not forget that the age of the lawyer has nothing to do with his ability of helping you out. Some lawyers who have been practicing from the last 30 years may have less experience than the guy who passed out his law school two years back. Ask him about that every small thing with which you are not familiar. Ask him what are the points that he is going to prove out there? How long he can take your case? What will be the consequences?
In case, the lawyer is not going to handle your case personally, then its time to move on and try finding a better one. Try not to involve them much in your life or business.
The things, which you need to carry while visiting them, are the ones, which are needed in the case. Like:
- A list of questions, which you want to ask to the lawyer.
- A handbook or a small notebook.
- All the notices, which you have received till date.
- Remember to ask them some questions, which decide the reflection of that lawyer. They might fill your mind with irony, don’t go with their ironclad promises. Some of the main points, which you should keep in consideration, are:
- Tell them to explain the points to you, which can strengths or weaknesses, your case. This will depend upon the lawyers experience.
- Ask the attorney about the fee. Will the attorney work out a written fee agreement with you?
The last and of one the most important point, Observe how the lawyer responds to your queries. Are you satisfied with his explanations? Ask yourself.