How Much Does a Lawyer Cost?

How Much Does a Lawyer Cost

When you are facing a legal problem, whether it is an injury, a divorce, a criminal matter, or something else, one of the first questions you will likely wonder is, “How much does it cost to hire a lawyer?” If you watch lawyer shows or movies, you may believe you will need to fork over thousands upon thousands of dollars just to get a meeting with an attorney.

In some cases, this may be accurate, especially in high-profile divorce or criminal proceedings. However, if you are searching for a personal injury attorney, the story is a bit different. Personal injury attorneys typically work on contingency, meaning you owe nothing up front.

There are a variety of fees and rates that attorneys may charge for their services, and understanding the differences can have a tremendous impact on your case. At Scholle Law, we believe in being fully open, honest, and transparent about our fees. You will never have to pay upfront for our services on your personal injury case, and if we do not secure a settlement or verdict on your behalf, you will not have to pay at all.

If you have been injured due to someone else’s actions or negligence, give us a call at (866) 592-1296 or contact us online today for a free, no-obligation consultation with an Atlanta personal injury lawyer.

Types of Fees Your Lawyer May Charge

Based on the type of attorney you need, there are a few different ways your lawyer may get paid. These are called fee agreements. The main two types of fee agreements are retainer and contingency. There are a variety of fees that can be charged under these different fee agreements, but the main difference is when these payments are due.

Types of fees can include:

  • Consultation fees: Some attorneys will charge an hourly or fixed fee just to talk to you. As with most personal injury lawyers, Scholle Law does not charge consultation fees. You are more likely to pay for a consultation with a divorce, criminal defense, or other kind of lawyer who charges by the hour.
  • Retainer fees: A retainer fee is simply a “down payment” to hire a lawyer. From this retainer, your lawyer will subtract their expenses of working your case. It is important to note that this retainer will likely not cover the full cost of the case and has to be “replenished.” As a lawyer on retainer does work for a case, the client is typically obligated to add funds monthly to keep the retainer at the full amount. Like consultation fees, you will likely never need to pay a retainer fee with a personal injury attorney.  Scholle Law does not require retainer fees for its representation of personal injury clients.
  • Hourly rates: Most lawyers will charge an hourly rate to conduct legal work on a client’s case. This includes time spent on legal research, phone calls, emails, drafting documents, depositions, court appearances, preparing arguments, and any other work required. Clients are billed for each fraction of an hour that the lawyer and paralegal work on the case at a set, fixed hourly rate.  These costs are typically billed on a monthly basis.  Personal injury attorneys rarely charge hourly rates.  Scholle Law will not charge hourly rates for its representation of personal injury clients.
  • Flat rate: In some instances, your attorney will charge a simple flat fee for the entire case or matter. This is most common in simple cases like drafting an estate plan, contract review or probating a will. However, the flat rate may not cover extra costs, such as filing fees if the case requires a document to be filed with a court.  If a flat fee case becomes more involved and will require more attorney work or resources than originally planned, the lawyers will typically then switch to an hourly rate for continued representation in the matter.  Seldom will personal injury attorneys work on a flat rate basis.
  • Statutory fees: If your case requires filing documents with a court, you may also be required to pay any associated fees. These fees vary by court system. For instance, filing a civil action in state court (where personal injury cases are most often heard) costs $213.00 in Gwinnett County, while in the DeKalb County State Court, the fees start at $242.00. If the case must be filed in federal court, the civil filing fee starts at $402.00.
  • Miscellaneous expenses:  In addition to your attorney’s fees, you will most likely also be charged for any additional expenses associated with the case. These types of costs may include: charges for obtaining medical records, shipping or delivery expenses, court reporters, investigators, process servers, translators, paying for expert witnesses, and more. Scholle Law deducts these expenses from the final verdict or settlement amount.

Types of Fees Your Lawyer May Charge

How Does a Contingency Fee Structure Work?

For most personal injury attorneys, legal fees are almost always paid on a contingency basis.  With a contingency fee structure, you do not have to pay a penny upfront to get the representation you deserve. Instead, your attorney will take their legal fees from any settlement or verdict they win on your behalf. Typically, this fee is about a third of the total compensation for cases resolved prior to litigation being filed. However, this rate may vary depending on the case itself.

For instance, your Georgia personal injury lawyer may only charge about 33 percent for a quick settlement after a car accident. But if the case requires filing a lawsuit and appearing in court, that fee often may increase to around 40 percent.

The main benefits of contingency fee arrangements are that clients pay nothing up front for their legal representation, and your attorney only gets paid when and if you win. As such, they will fight for the most compensation possible on your behalf.  If your lawyer does not win or secure a settlement in your case, you are not charged for their services. However, you may be required to pay court costs and other expenses regardless of the outcome of your case.

Talk to an Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer for Free Today

Money may make the world go ‘round, but it should never stop you from seeking legal representation if you have been injured. At Scholle Law, we do not charge for initial consultations and you do not owe a dime in legal fees if we do not secure compensation on your behalf. Our Georgia personal injury attorneys have the experience, expertise, compassion, and resources to fight the insurance companies for the compensation you deserve.

If you have been injured due to someone else’s actions or negligence, give us a call at (866) 592-1296 or contact us online today for a free, no-obligation consultation with an Atlanta personal injury lawyer.