How Much Do Personal Injury Lawyers Charge in Philadelphia?

  • June 15, 2021
  • Blog

If you were seriously injured, whether in a slip and fall, car crash, or some other accident, you’re probably facing substantial medical expenses. Many people just assume they can't afford a lawyer and don't even want to ask the question: How much do personal injury lawyers charge? Unfortunately for many injured victims, the cost is among the biggest barriers to seeking proper legal advice.

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Even if they know that working with an experienced Philadelphia personal injury lawyer could offer them the best chance of recovering fair compensation for their losses.

A lot of injured victims imagine costly legal fees when hiring a personal injury attorney, something that might be unaffordable following an injury that requires expensive treatment. But what they don’t know is that most personal injury lawyers know about their financial burdens and try to offset these by offering their services on a contingency fee agreement. So before you assume that you’ll save more money by fighting insurance companies for compensation, you should ask a lawyer, How much do personal injury lawyers charge? Find out how a contingency fee agreement work and how it can benefit you.

What Is a Contingency Fee in Philadelphia?

Most lawyers work on personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis. Basically, this means that you won’t have to pay for your lawyer’s services on a flat fee, retainer, or hourly basis. Your lawyer will only earn their fee based on a specific percentage of the compensation they recover for you.

This means that your lawyer won’t receive payment for their services if they don’t secure compensation for you. So, how much do personal injury lawyers charge? Zero if you don't win your case.

This payment system enables a lot of injured victims who might not be able to afford a lawyer to have someone advocating for their legal rights and battling it out with sneaky insurance companies. Likewise, you should know that according to the Rules of Professional Conduct in Pennsylvania, all attorneys who work on a contingency fee basis must provide clients a written contract of the agreement.

Once you receive your contingency fee agreement, make sure to read and understand everything because it will also include your obligations. If you see something that you don’t completely understand, don’t hesitate to ask your lawyer for clarifications. Only sign the contingency fee agreement if you understand all the terms and conditions. Otherwise, don’t be afraid to ask your lawyer questions.

How Much Is the Contingency Fee in Philadelphia?

Contingency Fee

How much your lawyer stand to receive in legal fees would typically depend on whether your personal injury case settles before or after a lawsuit is filed. But the amount is usually 30% up to 40% of your recovery. How much do personal injury lawyers charge? Here's some examples:

  • You’ll pay your lawyer $24,000 if you settle your case for $80,000 before filing a suit if the contingency fee is 30%.
  • You’ll pay your lawyer $36,000 if you settle your case for $90,000 after filing a suit because lawyer fees are commonly higher when lawsuits are involved.

It’s important to note that the percentage may be lower or higher, depending on your agreement with your lawyer. In addition, while it might seem high, keep in mind that personal injury attorneys will do everything they can, under law, to maximize your recovery since doing so will also increase their fees.

How Much Do Personal Injury Lawyers Charge in Philadelphia for Court Costs?

Lawsuits are expensive. There’s just no way around that. While you don’t need to pay your lawyer’s fee unless you win your case, you’ll still have to pay the court costs and expenses related to get your case going. These can include:

  • Police reports
  • Medical records
  • Filing fees
  • Copying and postage charges
  • Expert witness fees
  • Trial exhibits
  • Court reporters
  • Travel fees

So, how much do personal injury lawyers in Philadelphia charge for court costs? Likewise, attorneys have different approaches when charging these expenses. Some may send monthly bills for costs incurred, while others may keep track of all the expenses and deduct them from the compensation you receive when you win your case.

It’s also difficult to provide an estimate for these expenses. In general, they are usually higher if you don’t settle before the case goes to trial because of the extra steps required to go to trial and during the trial. If you’re worried about these costs and related expenses, don’t hesitate to speak to your lawyer. They may have some ideas or workarounds to control these costs.

How Do Contingency Fees in Philadelphia Benefit Accident Victims?

Suffering a serious personal injury causes physical, emotional, and financial pain. After an accident, victims often find themselves painfully recovering in the hospital or at home. They lose time from work, family, and cherished activities. Often, forced inactivity and isolation add to the misery.

At the same time, medical bills mount and many injured people must also pay for additional services, such as cleaning and transportation because they have temporary or permanent disabilities. 

Imagine being in this situation and then having to add thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket legal fees to the burden. For most accident victims, paying these fees upfront presents an impossibility.

Contingency fees provide many benefits to personal injury plaintiffs. They make it possible to mount a case against deep-pocketed insurance companies even if plaintiffs have few or no assets.

Contingency Fees in Pennsylvania Make a Long Legal Fight Possible

Unfortunately, most personal injury cases take a year or more to settle and two or more years to progress through a trial. Most accident victims are far from rich and can ill afford to pay large legal expenses while awaiting a conclusion to the process. They need their income to afford living expenses.

Contingency fees make it possible for plaintiffs to hold out as long as necessary to obtain full compensation. The wheels of justice grind slowly. If plaintiffs are too eager to settle because of mounting legal bills, they find themselves at a disadvantage.

To achieve the best results, your personal injury attorney needs to establish both the defendant(s) liability and the damages you sustained as a result. To do this, your legal team must engage in the discovery process. During this phase, your lawyer gathers evidence and deposes witnesses. Once discovery is complete, you are in a better position to justify a larger award based on better evidence of liability and a fuller understanding of your total damages.

No Financial Risk

Financial Risk

Contingency fee agreements take most of the risk out of the equation for plaintiffs. If the case fails or the client cannot collect, then he or she owes no legal fees. Taking a case to court when you must fund large legal fees places the plaintiff in a financially precarious position if there is an adverse result. 

For example, in Pennsylvania, a plaintiff can collect only if the accident is ruled less than 51% his or her fault. If a jury finds your share of the liability exceeds this, then you receive no compensation. If you were paying on an hourly basis, all your legal fees would represent a financial loss. However, with contingency fees, you lose no money out of pocket.

Access to Lawyers for Lower-Income Victims Through Contingency Fees PA

The economic divide in America is perhaps as stark as it has even been. The upper echelons of the economic scale control most of the assets and take home the lion’s share of the income. Working people with few assets mostly live paycheck to paycheck. With legal fees in the hundreds of dollars per hour, most victims would lack legal representation in accident cases.

Without lawyers, accident victims either have to give up on receiving compensation for their injuries or try to sue pro se. Pro se plaintiffs represent themselves, leaving them at a severe disadvantage because insurance companies have teams of experienced litigators on their payrolls. In addition, pro se plaintiffs must spend extraordinary amounts of time and energy learning the law and legal system. The end result for pro se defendants, unfortunately , is usually a low settlement or a failed case.

Leverage in Negotiations

Personal injury lawsuits lead to high-stakes negotiations. For many plaintiffs, hundreds of thousands of dollars sit on the line. To convince insurance companies to offer a reasonable settlement, they must see that you can take the case to trial and win. Without a contingency fee arrangement, plaintiffs feel pressured to settle cases because of the legal fees. Contingency fees turn this on its head.

Because of contingency fees, insurance companies are the ones who must factor in the high costs of taking a case to trial. As a result, the plaintiff has leverage in negotiations. Insurance companies will increase their settlement offers to avoid the expense of protracted litigation, especially if they fear losing.

Assurance of Collecting

Lawyers only take contingency fee cases if they are certain they can collect a judgment. For this to happen, there must be strong evidence against a defendant(s) with the means to pay. In most cases, this comes down to enough evidence to prove over 51% liability against the defendant(s) and an insurer that has legal responsibility to pay the claim. If the odds are highly against success, attorneys won’t take the case on contingency.

They Cover Other Expenses

Court cases come with expenses in addition to legal fees, such as court costs, filing fees, expert witnesses, and other miscellaneous expenses. Without a contingency fee agreement, plaintiffs would be forced to front these fees, creating an additional financial burden during a difficult time.

Speak to an Experienced Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer Today

How much do personal injury lawyers charge in Philadelphia? Here at Mattiacci Law, LLC, our personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee agreement. You won’t have to worry about paying our fees upfront, and we only get paid if we win your personal injury case and secure compensation for your losses.

To find out more about how our fees work, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. You can call us at 215-709-7915 or complete our online form to arrange a free consultation with our Philadelphia personal injury lawyer today. We also offer 24/7 service, so you can contact us any time and talk to one of our helpful representatives.

Related Content: What Percentage Do Lawyers Take for Personal Injury Cases?

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