Imagine you end up in a motor vehicle accident. You may end up hurt and out of work for the next several months. You may never be the same physically again. On top of that, there could be a wrongful death of a passenger involved. Unfortunately, in the United States, this happens all too often. There are about 62 million injuries every year.
If this has happened to you or a loved one, you may be looking for a Norfolk personal injury lawyer. How much does a Norfolk personal injury attorney cost? What should you know about Norfolk, VA personal injury lawyers? This guide will answer those questions and more.
The first thing someone has to consider when it comes to hiring a Virginia personal injury lawyer is to have a consultation with a lawyer. Having a consultation does a few things for you. One of those things is it can give you a good sense of who your lawyer is. Do you trust them? Do they sound like they know what they are talking about? Are they encouraging you to go forward with your case? Having a consultation can answer a lot of those questions. At the very least, it should give you a good idea as to what those answers are.
Another thing that a consultation can do for you is give you an idea of how strong of a case you have. This is typically the stage where lawyers will tell you if you have a good claim or not. An experienced personal injury attorney has seen loads of personal injury cases before. As a result, they are going to have a good idea of your case’s chances of winning as it currently stands. So, if this is the stage where you find out if you have a good case and if you have the right lawyer for you, you may think that comes big with a big price tag.
Believe it or not, this is not the case. Most lawyers will be happy to give you a free consultation before you decide whether or not you want to move forward. It is a gesture of goodwill from a lawyer to show that they are willing to work with you. Plus, they tend to be confident that they can have a nice payday with your settlement that may come in the future.
Some of you may be thinking that a lawyer automatically gets an hourly rate from court cases that you may have seen on TV. However, that is not typically the case with personal injury claims. What happens here is that lawyers that think you stand a strong chance of winning your case will pass on that hourly rate. Instead, they will accept what is known as a contingency fee.
How does this work? If a lawyer makes this arrangement with you, it means that they are expecting you to get a settlement once your personal injury case is settled. As a result, they will delay payment until then. However, instead of paying your lawyer by the hour, they will take a percentage of what you won in your settlement.
How much is this? Well, some lawyers may charge up to 40% of your settlement as their contingency fee. This is especially the case if your case drags out for a while. When it comes to the Decker Law Firm, you do not have to worry about being charged a high contingency fee. You will only get charged 33.3% of your settlement. It will stay at that percentage even if your case goes to trial. So, do not worry about having to pay your lawyer upfront for any costs with your personal injury case. An honest lawyer will tell you how much of your personal injury settlement they want as payment instead.
While you will be covered with a contingency the majority of the time for a personal injury case, there are times when you need to prepare to incur litigation costs. Costs of litigation are used to pay medical providers for sending copies of your medical bills and paying medical doctors to testify as expert witnesses. Those costs will generally be paid out of your settlement or judgement at the end of your trial.
Something else you have to factor in here is a delay in your case. It could end up dragging out a lot longer than your lawyer anticipated. This could happen if your personal injury case ends up going to trial. Do not expect this to happen with your case, though, because only about 4% of these types of cases go to trial. What will happen in this situation is that your lawyer may ask you for a retainer fee. That is essentially paying a certain amount of money for your lawyer’s time to represent you in your case. Again, these fees are very unlikely to take place in a case like this. However, be prepared for the event that this does come up in your case.
Something else that you need to consider is what kind of reputation the lawyer has.
Are they known for winning every single case that they have? Do they have years of experience in your area? Have they done large personal injury cases in Norfolk before? These are things you need to consider to get an idea of how much a lawyer may ask for with a contingency fee. Why is this? Because the more successful lawyers are likely going to ask for a larger percentage of your contingency fee unless you find a hidden gem.
Let’s say that you are searching for the top lawyer in your area. A lawyer may agree to take it on, but the catch is that they may ask personal injury victims for more than 40% of their settlement as a contingency fee. What you need to do is find a hidden gem that charges a fair rate while still having a good reputation. You can do this by talking to lawyers during the consultation or simply asking around to get an idea of what their reputation is like.
Reviews and Testimonials
Part of a lawyer’s reputation is going to be what reviews and testimonials say about them. This gives people an idea of what past clients got as a result of working with them. If they had a good settlement with this lawyer, you are more likely to hear about it. For lawyers, this is crucial because 99.9% of customers read online reviews of products, businesses, and services.
Considering this system relies on a lawyer getting many positive reviews, they must look good there. Let’s say that one lawyer blew several cases in a row for clients that were not happy with the lawyer’s performance. They may reflect that in the reviews that they leave for the lawyer. Read some reviews and testimonials of lawyers that practice in your area. Then, you can get a better idea of who you want to do business with.
Something else that you should consider when looking for a lawyer is if the lawyer specializes in cases like yours. Are they known for personal injury cases? Do they dabble in a little bit of everything? While it is not abnormal for a lawyer to take cases in multiple areas, you should feel better about a lawyer that specializes in personal injury cases. The reason for this is that they are focused on these types of cases and likely have more courtroom experience with these cases. As a result, they are more likely to know what it takes to win one of these types of cases.
Providing Legal Counsel
While this is technically not a cost for you, it is something that can help you gain thousands of dollars. The reason why is that you should listen to your lawyer when it is time to accept a settlement offer. Insurance companies tend to drag their feet in these situations. However, when an experienced lawyer presents a very strong case, they will know that they have no choice but to offer a settlement to you. The catch here is knowing when to accept the offer. If you have a good lawyer by your side, they will guide you every step of the way. You must listen to their advice here because it can go badly for you for a few reasons.
If you refuse a settlement offer during the negotiation period, there is a chance that your case could go to trial. From there, you could risk losing the entire case and the money that you just turned down. On the other hand, you may be eager to accept an offer if you never saw the kind of cash that the defendant’s side has offered before. A good lawyer will have a in depth conversation with you in this situation and you may demand more money in the settlement offer. The lawyer may think about things such as your pain and suffering, medical expenses, plus your future ability to work. The bottom line, listen to your lawyer’s legal advice because that is what you are paying them for, and it can help you get more money.
This is a relatively minor cost, but you should consider the distance from where the lawyer practices to where you live. The reason is that you may have to meet with the lawyer multiple times before your case is heard. This could be for your initial legal consultation or additional legal counsel. If you want a more convenient route to this along with saving a little gas mileage, you should keep this under consideration.
One thing you will find worth the cost to have by your side is some legal muscle. This is because if you are fighting a large insurance company, they will likely try to bully you into settling for a lower amount of money or walk away. This goes back to having proper legal counsel by your side. You want to have a super lawyer that is not afraid to take anybody on. In addition to this, having a lawyer by your side will let the defendant know that you are not messing around.
The reason why that is the message sent is that insurance companies and other lawyers are aware that experienced lawyers know every trick and legal loophole in the book. So, they are much less likely to have something slip by them compared to someone inexperienced in this realm. You could have a lawyer that has seen personal injuries and wrongful deaths from car accidents, malpractice, workplace injuries, and more. No matter where the injury came from, a good lawyer should be able to provide you with the legal muscle that you need to get what you are entitled to.
Hire a Norfolk Personal Injury Lawyer
These are some of the biggest things that you should know about the cost of a Norfolk personal injury lawyer. The main cost you typically have to worry about is the contingency fee. However, if you decide to work with our law firm, you do not have to worry about this fee ever increasing.
Then, you need to consider the financial perks you can get with a good lawyer. This includes good legal counsel, legal muscle, reputation, and more. Do you need a lawyer in Norfolk, VA? Get a free consultation here today.