How Do Attorneys Charge for Their Services?
Different types of attorneys charge for their services in different ways. Some utilize an hourly fee system. In this case, every task that an attorney completes for a client occurs “on the clock.” These tasks are billed at their hourly rate.
When it comes to personal injury law as well as various other areas of practice, it is more common for attorneys to charge a Contingency Fee. A contingency fee is a pre-determined percentage of a final settlement collected by a lawyer for his or her services.
A contingency fee means that if a client loses his or her case, they will not owe their attorney for their services.
This may enable the victim of a car accident or medical malpractice case to obtain a better attorney. It also helps to guarantee the attorney will put time and effort into the case, no matter how small it is. Finally, for attorneys, a contingency fee is a great motivator for hard work. The more an attorney is able to get in a settlement, the higher their payment will be.
While contingency fees cover things like consultations about your case and the work that your attorney puts into building your legal defense, it does not cover every cost. There are other expenses that arise in connection with building and defending a case that the client will have to pay. This includes things like printing costs or fees for hiring expert witnesses to speak on your behalf.
There are benefits and drawbacks to both an hourly fee and a contingency fee for clients.
However, when you hire a personal injury lawyer, it’s often the result of an unexpected situation, such as a car accident. While dealing with medical bills, lost wages, and damage to your vehicle, lower upfront costs for legal support can help make fighting for compensation a little easier.
Can I Talk to an Attorney for Free?
This question does not have a clear cut answer, because the answer depends on when you are speaking to an attorney and what you’d like to speak to them about.
For instance, if you want in-depth legal advice about your impending divorce, odds are that you will need to pay your attorney for his or her time. However, there are a variety of other questions that you may find yourself needing to ask before you have even hired an attorney.
In that case, it is likely that an attorney will be willing to speak with you, free of charge.
Some topics an attorney is likely to be willing to discuss before you become their client include:
- Whether or not your case requires the help of an attorney
- What the cost would be to hire a lawyer to represent your case
- Questions about his or her law practice, experience, and other relevant information to help you decide whether they are the right attorney for your case
- Information about what the legal process will look like for you, including timelines and potential problem points
- The potential consequences that you could be facing for a crime you committed or an accident that you caused
Before hiring an attorney, it’s a good idea to ask about a free consultation. This meeting, either in-person or over the phone, gives you a chance to decide whether you feel confident in a lawyer’s experience and skills.
When Should You Reach Out to an Attorney for a Free Consultation?
Any time you believe you need legal help, it’s a good idea to start by asking about a free consultation.
If an attorney does not offer a free consultation for new clients, be wary. This is a likely sign they aren’t the right choice. It may indicate that they will be looking for ways to charge their clients beyond what is necessary. They likely value profits over all else. It could also indicate that their firm is too busy to take on new clients. And therefore too busy to handle your case properly.
Sometimes just figuring out whether or not you need legal assistance isn’t easy.
Some examples of situations when you should seek a free consultation include:
- If you were injured in or caused a minor car accident where non-life-threatening injuries occurred
- If you were in a car accident in which severe property damage occurred, even if injuries were not sustained
- When you have been accused of a crime or arrested, and are unsure of what the consequences will be or whether you were justly arrested
- When you already have prior arrests or points on your license, and getting more from an accident or other incident could cause more serious consequences, like losing your driver’s license
- If you are unsure of the laws surrounding your case and want to learn more about your options, the circumstances of an arrest, or what you can do about your case
After realizing that the answer to the question “Can I talk to an Attorney for Free? is yes, you are already on a better path. When you’re deciding whether you need an attorney’s help or are starting your search for the right lawyer, a free consultation is the way to go.
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