One of the most common reasons why people decide not to hire a lawyer after they are injured through someone else’s negligence is because they think that they can’t afford it.
However, most personal injury lawyers, including the team at Joye Law Firm, do not charge an hourly fee. Instead, they work on contingency, which means you only have to pay your lawyer if you win your claim. And that means everyone can afford to hire a lawyer, since there are never any upfront costs.
At our firm, even your initial consultation is free. And you don’t need to pay out of pocket at the end of the day either, since your lawyer’s fees and any additional legal costs will be taken out of the settlement amount.
What Is a Typical Lawyer Fee?
The average lawyer fee for a personal injury settlement is between 33-40%, although this number can vary depending on the difficulty of the case. For example, cases that go to trial take longer than those that are settled out of court, so the lawyer’s fees will be on the higher side of that scale. This is compensation for your lawyer’s time and all the work put into your case.
However, you may also be responsible for paying some additional legal expenses. These are unrelated to your lawyer’s payment, and make up the costs required to move a case forward. It’s very rare for law firms to ask clients to pay these costs as they arise; instead, the law firm will typically pay them for you, and get reimbursement from your settlement.
This blog attempts to break down what costs you may be responsible for paying after wrapping up your personal injury lawsuit.
Costs and Expenses of Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
The majority of these costs only apply to cases that proceed to trial, because the U.S. court system passes many of the costs associated with conducting a trial onto the people requesting the trial. However, depending on the circumstances and needs of your own claim, some of these costs may still apply.
- Police Report and Medical Record Fees – Police stations and hospitals often charge to release copies of these records, which are necessary evidence in most personal injury cases.
- Filing Fees and Postage – It is no surprise that filing a lawsuit involves a lot of paperwork. Your lawyer can ask to be reimbursed for the postage and processing fees they paid to the court when submitting the lawsuit. Although it may chafe to be asked to pay postage when it seems a small expense to the firm, they do this because when paying small postage amounts many times over for many clients, it can add up to a significant expense in the firm’s operating budget.
- Deposition/Court Reporter Fees – A stenographer will sit in on your deposition (which is a common part of many injury claims even when they do not proceed as far a trial) and a court reporter will sit in on your trial to make transcripts. You will be charged a fee for a copy of these transcripts (usually per page) to pay them for their time and for copy costs.
- Witness Fees – This refers to expert witnesses rather than witnesses to the accident. Your lawyer may hire experts to testify in your case, and these witnesses need to be paid. Aside from your lawyer fee, this will likely be the largest fee associated with your case. Examples of expert witnesses in a car crash claim could include a doctor explaining why you needed a specific surgery for your injuries, an economist explaining how much income you will lose over the course of your lifetime if you became disabled, or an accident reconstructionist offering their expert opinion on how the crash occurred. If a witness needs to be flown in, you may also be charged for their travel expenses.
- Jury Fees – When civil cases proceed to trial, jury fees (the amount paid to jury members while serving on the jury) are paid by the party seeking a jury trial.
There may be other fees in addition to these, but these are the primary fees that victims of negligence may be required to pay when pursing a personal injury lawsuit.
Making a Difference in the Lives of South Carolinians
Joye Law Firm has been serving our fair state for more than 50 years. We have five convenient office locations across the state, and we’re proud to work on a contingency fee to help South Carolinians get the compensation and justice they deserved after being harmed through the careless and negligent actions of others. We also pride ourselves on our “no fee guarantee,” meaning our clients never pay a fee or costs if we can’t secure a financial recovery for them.
The last thing an injury victim who is already struggling with bills needs is to have to scrounge to pay for a lawyer who may be their only opportunity to get fair compensation.
If you have questions about whether a lawyer can help you and how much it may cost, don’t hesitate to contact our firm today and we’ll answer your questions and address any concerns you may have.