How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Charge?

How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Charge?

You’re driving down the highway or city road in West Virginia; everything’s going okay, but suddenly, you hear a huge bang. Now you’re lying partially unconscious in your car, positioned upside down. It all happened in a split second.

Minutes later, you’re in the emergency room (ER) receiving medical attention. Your post-injury medical bills are yours to cater to (for now), and you’ve suffered property damages that need repair. It now dawns on you that you need to file a claim, and only a professional personal injury (PI) lawyer can help. With financial losses accruing so fast, it’s understandable to ask yourself: how much does a personal injury lawyer charge in West Virginia?

If you find yourself in such a situation, you’re not alone. As a car accident victim, it’s critical to retain a West Virginia personal injury lawyer, and this post provides valuable insights into how much you can expect to pay for your attorney fees.

How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Charge?

There’s no standard fee that PI attorneys charge because several factors affect lawyer fees. They include:

  • The type of case – Your lawyer might charge up to three-tenths of your net settlement or $90,000 if you win. Suppose you don’t win; in that case, you can still find a lawyer who charges a lower fee.
  • To appeal or not to appeal – Another factor that affects the amount of lawyer fees is whether or not you’re going to file an appeal. Some attorneys only take personal injury cases with a higher compensation or jury award. In such a situation, the attorney will charge a higher fee if you lose the case. Alternatively, they might take your case and charge a contingency basis (which we’ve discussed below), which may result in a lower fee.

Personal Injury Lawyer Fees: The “Contingency Fee” Basis

Most lawyers offer legal services in personal injury lawsuits on a “contingency fee” basis, which requires you to pay them a percentage of the total settlement you receive. You’re also not obliged to pay any amount if you lose the case. Whether you win or lose, you’ll have to reimburse your lawyer for the expenses they paid to investigate, negotiate, file your claim, and pursue your compensatory amount. These are called legal costs and expenses.

If you’re thinking about hiring a personal injury attorney, here’s what you need to know about a contingency fee agreement:

  • Your lawyer is more likely to represent you on a “contingency fee” if you file a lawsuit against a defender who negligently or intentionally injured you.
  • Contingency fees can significantly reduce your settlement because most attorneys charge 33%-40% of your final compensation or court award. The good news is that you pay no fees if you lose. For instance, if you receive a $50,000 settlement from the at-fault party’s insurer and your attorney agrees to 33% of the net recovery, you’ll receive $33,500, and your lawyer would get $16,500.
  • If your lawyer prefers a contingency fee, it would be best to ensure you have a written agreement that clearly details the percentage of settlement the lawyer takes, who’ll cater to what legal costs, and when these expenses will be paid.
  • Alternatively, you may elect to pay for legal counsel at an hourly rate or consider other types of fee arrangements.

The “Sliding Scale” Alternative

Your personal injury lawyer may also charge you a contingency fee based on the time your case takes before a settlement award. This arrangement is called a “sliding scale.” Consider this example: your lawyer reaches a settlement agreement through negotiations with your insurance adjuster; in such a situation, your attorney might be lenient and agree to a 25% contingency fee.

Nonetheless, if your PI attorney has to file a personal injury claim in court before you receive your compensatory amount, they’ll likely charge the standard 33%. And if the court has to go to trial, you can expect to pay your lawyer 40% of the total recovery amount. The closer your claim gets to trial, the harder your lawyer has to work to prove your case, thus increasing the contingency fee percentage they take.

Why Partner With a Lawyer for Your Personal Injury Claim

Personal injury claims/lawsuits are legal matters that an average citizen might not understand. There’s a lot to be done, from investigating claims and gathering evidence to sending demand letters (to the insurance company) and conducting discovery – sending interrogatories to the defendant, witnesses, or other parties to gather specific information about your case.

These are steps in a personal injury lawsuit that only a professional, experienced lawyer from The Miley Legal Group can handle. Suppose the at-fault party’s insurance company is reluctant to pay the settlement; in such a case, a lawyer can prepare pleadings to file a complaint against the defendant. That enables them to prove negligence and specify the damages they should pay.

If all fails, an attorney will be forced to take the case to trial. They are seasoned in such litigation, so they are familiar with court customs and know what to say to convince the court or jury to grant you the maximum settlement.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long will it take to settle my claim?

Rarely do personal injury cases go to trial, as most cases get settled through negotiations with an insurer or defendant. It’s hard to determine how long your case takes. The timeline varies dramatically from one claim to another, depending on the circumstances. Claims involving severe injuries and high settlement amounts can take longer to settle because the insurance company will fight harder not to settle the total amount. Hiring a PI lawyer can motivate the insurer to offer a fair settlement earlier in the claims process. With legal representation, they know they can’t take advantage of you.

How much is my personal injury claim worth?

The answer to that depends on the severity of the injuries. The settlement can’t be ascertained until a lawyer thoroughly investigates your case. However, they can give you a rough estimate based on other similar claims. It’s also worth noting that the law prohibits attorneys from giving a specific amount or predicting the case outcome.

How long will it take for me to receive my settlement check?

It doesn’t take a long time between getting your settlement award and receiving your check. Most insurance companies usually work faster to close their case files, so they can send out the check within one or two weeks of signing the settlement agreement. Usually, your attorney will receive the check, prepare a settlement statement, clear any lawyer fees, pay court expenses, reimbursements to insurers, and any necessary deductions. Once you receive and sign the settlement statement, your attorney will send you the check for the remaining amount.