How Do Personal Injury Lawyers Get Paid in Huntsville? | Belt, Bruner & Barnett Personal Injury Lawyers

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How Do Personal Injury Lawyers Get Paid in Huntsville?

Jun 26, 2024 | Personal Injury

When someone is injured in an accident that results from another person’s negligence, they have a right to bring a claim against the negligent party to be compensated for their injuries. Unfortunately, many people don’t assert that right because they think they cannot afford an attorney.

What those people don’t realize, however, is that the fees for most personal injury lawyers in Huntsville, Alabama, are contingency fees. Contingency fee arrangements help everyone who is injured in an accident hire a lawyer when they need one.

What Are Contingency Fees in a Personal Injury Case?

Contingency fees in a personal injury case, such as one based on a car accident, are the fees paid to a lawyer for the legal services he or she provides in your personal injury case. These services will include:

  • Meeting to discuss your case (initial consultations are often free);
  • Collecting facts;
  • Locating witnesses;
  • Obtaining police reports, if any;
  • Establishing fault;
  • Assessing damages;
  • Negotiating with insurance companies;
  • Filing a claim, if necessary;
  • Strategizing your case;
  • Collecting evidence (medical records, invoices, and more)
  • Preparing for trial;
  • Settling your case, if possible;
  • Obtaining a court award if the case is not settled;
  • Enforcing your award.

The fees for any or all of these legal services are “contingent” on you settling your case or obtaining a money award at trial. Your fees are then paid out of the money that the defendant or their insurance company pays you. Unless or until you win or settle your case, you pay no attorney’s fees.

How Are Contingency Fees in a Personal Injury Case Different From Fees in Other Cases?

Contingency fees are not like fees paid in other cases. Some lawyers may charge a flat fee. Other lawyers may charge an hourly rate. Both types of fees have their advantages and disadvantages.

Flat Fees

A flat fee is a lump-sum payment to the attorney to represent you in your case. For example, your lawyer might charge you a flat fee of $1,000 to assist you in filing your taxes or a flat $500 fee to obtain a building permit from the Madison County Building Inspection Department. Often, flat fees must be paid “up front” before the lawyer even provides any legal services.

The advantage of a flat fee arrangement is that there are no surprises. The lawyer and the client both know what is needed and how much it will cost. Because the lawyer generally knows how much work a given legal task requires, and a client often knows how much they can afford to spend on a lawyer, a flat fee allows both parties to decide whether the case is worth the fee before binding themselves to a fee agreement.

The disadvantage of a flat fee arrangement is that both the lawyer and the client run the risk that the flat fee they agreed to wasn’t worth it. For example, what started out as a simple $1,000 tax filing could hit a snag and require the lawyer to spend more hours on your case than expected. Likewise, if all that was necessary to obtain a building permit was to fill out a form, you would regret having paid your lawyer $500 to do it.

Hourly Rates

Many lawyers charge an hourly rate, which means the lawyer charges you a specific amount for every hour of work performed in your case. Hourly rates vary widely with the experience and reputation of the attorney. The lawyer will account for the hours dedicated to your case, and you will receive an invoice for the appropriate fee, usually at the end of every month.

One advantage of the hourly rate is that “You get what you pay for.” One disadvantage, however, is that “You have to pay for what you get.” An hourly rate can ensure that you are only paying for work performed. But you are not paying for the lawyer’s services–you are paying for the lawyer’s time. For an unscrupulous attorney, there may be little incentive to settle your case and the temptation to perform unnecessary services to inflate hours and accumulate fees.

Also, with hourly rates, you pay as you go. Fees can accumulate quickly. When they do, they can prevent a client with limited resources from taking legal measures necessary to pursue their claim properly or from even hiring an attorney and pursuing their claim at all. Hourly rate fees often benefit the lawyer but are not always beneficial for the client.

What Is the Benefit of Having a Contingency Fee Agreement in My Personal Injury Case?

The greatest benefit of a contingency fee agreement is that an injured party pays no legal fees unless he or she wins the case. This provides:

  • Flexibility for an injured party who is trying to recover from an accident;
  • Opportunity to hire an attorney for persons who can’t otherwise afford one; and
  • Incentive for a lawyer to recover damages for the client.

Contact the Alabama Personal Injury Lawyers at Belt, Bruner & Barnett Personal Injury Lawyers To Get Legal Assistance Today

For more information, please contact an experienced personal injury lawyer Belt, Bruner & Barnett Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation today. We serve Shelby County, Madison County, Montgomery County in Alabama, and its surrounding areas.

We have convenient locations in Birmingham, Huntsville & Montgomery. Visit one of our offices today:

Belt, Bruner & Barnett Personal Injury Lawyers – Birmingham Office

880 Montclair Road, Ste 300,
Birmingham, AL 35213

(205) 206-5088

 

Belt, Bruner & Barnett Personal Injury Lawyers – Huntsville Office

116 Jefferson St. Suite 209
Hunstville, AL, 35801

(256) 666-4660

 

Belt, Bruner & Barnett Personal Injury Lawyers – Montgomery Office

7 Clayton St, Suite 200,
Montgomery, AL 36104

(334) 513-2110