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How Much Does a Kansas City Auto Accident Attorney Cost?



You’ve recently suffered injuries in a car wreck because of someone else’s negligence and want to hire an attorney, but are hesitant to do so because of the cost. The following article explains how a Kansas City auto accident attorney bills for his time.

Billing Methods of a Kansas City Auto Accident Attorney

Most Kansas City injury lawyers work on contingency. With a contingency fee, the lawyer is paid a percentage of any money you receive in a settlement or court award. Lawyers can only charge a contingency rate if their client stands a chance of recovering money.

The exact percentage will depend on the specific attorney, but most contingency fee lawyers in an area will charge a similar percentage. In addition, you would have to pay legal expenses.

When interviewing a Missouri auto accident attorney, make sure to ask if his fee is calculated before or after expenses are deducted. This fact could greatly alter your portion of the monetary award.

Some car accident lawyers may charge an hourly rate, even though this is far less common than contingency fees. Essentially, the lawyer charges a set hourly fee for the time worked on a case. You are responsible for paying the lawyer's bills regardless of the outcome of your case.

Generally, lawyers bill for their time in six- or 15-minute increments. For example, if your car accident lawyer bills in six-minute increments, a two-minute phone call at $300 per hour would cost $30. If your attorney charges in 15-minute increments, that same phone call would cost you $75.

A lawyer’s hourly rate varies on a number of factors. These include:

  • Experience and education
  • Whether the lawyer works in a major metropolitan area or in a rural area
  • A lawyer’s reputation in the personal injury arena
  • The complexity of the case
  • The costs associated with running the law office

If you hire a lawyer that charges an hourly rate, you also must pay for related expenses. These include expert witness fees, trial exhibits, computerized research and court reporters.

The Pros & Cons of How a Kansas City Personal Injury Lawyer Bills for Services

One benefit of hiring a lawyer on contingency is that the lawyer does not get paid if you don’t win a monetary award. The lawyer who works on contingency is motivated to win the most money possible for you because the more money won provides the lawyer with a greater fee in the end.

Retaining a lawyer on contingency also frees up your monthly income for other bills while the case is tried. You could use the money to pay for your normal bills and medical expenses.

Most Kansas City personal injury lawyers also are willing to negotiate legal fees, but you have to do this before you retain the lawyer.

Lawyers who agree to work on contingency believe they have a chance to win your case. That’s good news. But don’t be shocked if the case settles quickly and your lawyer collects a good portion of the award.  Learn more about when you should settle your case.

When a lawyer bills by the hour, you must pay for every hour worked on the case, regardless of whether you win or lose. You also have to pay for case-related expenses. These costs could add up if the case is prolonged.

If you don’t have the spare income to fund a car accident trial and the lawyer’s fees associated with your case, you may not want to hire a lawyer who bills by the hour.

If a personal injury lawyer will only take your case for an hourly fee, that could also mean your case is weak. Ask the lawyer why he’s charging an hourly rate.

Fee-Related Questions to Ask Kansas City Injury Lawyers

Ask questions to better understand how your car accident attorney will charge for your case. Questions include:

  • What type of fee will you charge for my auto accident case?
  • If you charge a contingency fee, what percentage will you earn?
  • What’s included in the fee?
  • How much do I have to pay in legal expenses?
  • Could you estimate how much my case will cost?
  • After paying you, how much money would I receive?

Take time to understand the costs associated with filing a lawsuit and hiring a Kansas City auto accident attorney. This knowledge will help you choose an attorney.