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How Much Do Boat Accident Attorneys Cost?

Many people who are injured in boating accidents will consider hiring attorneys, particularly if someone else was responsible for the accident. If you've never before hired a lawyer, you may be wondering how much boat accident attorneys cost.

Boat accident attorneys-and all personal injury lawyers-generally charge for their time in one of two ways: contingency fees or hourly billing rates (also called an hourly fee). When you hire an attorney on contingency, you only pay if the attorney succeeds in recovering money on your behalf. If you hire a lawyer by the hour, you're responsible for paying the entire bill regardless of whether the lawyer is able to negotiate a settlement or win a judgment in your favor.

Contingency Fees & Boat Accident Attorneys

By far, most boat accident attorneys charge their clients a contingency fee. Typically, the fee is equal to a percentage of the total settlement or judgment you receive. (Percentages vary from area to area and can be negotiated when you hire a boat accident lawyer.) You'll also be responsible for paying your attorney's expenses.

There are a couple of advantages to hiring a lawyer on contingency: You pay no money up front, and you owe no money if you do not win or settle your case. Also, because the attorney shares in your financial award if successful, the attorney is motivated to work hard on your behalf.

The primary disadvantage to contingency fees is that if you quickly settle your case, you may feel as if you overpaid your lawyer.

When negotiating a contingency fee, you'll want to discuss:

  • Is the contingency fee taken from the gross award (before expenses have been deducted) or the net award (after expenses have been deducted)?
  • Will you be responsible for paying the lawyer's expenses if he or she does not obtain a financial award on your behalf?

Hourly Fees & Boat Accident Attorneys

With an hourly fee, you pay the attorney for his or her actual time worked on your case regardless of the outcome. You are also responsible for paying any expenses the attorney incurs while working on your behalf.

Although hourly fees are quite common in many areas of the law, they are fairly uncommon in personal injury cases. If you find that boat accident attorneys are only willing to represent you for an hourly fee, then you should take this as a sign that your case is weak or not worth much money. You should ask the lawyer if he or she represents other clients on contingency and why the attorney does not want to handle your case on contingency.

Understanding Legal Fees

Before hiring a boat accident attorney, make sure you thoroughly understand the legal fees. Questions to ask include:

  • How much money do you estimate my case is worth if we settle? If we go to trial?
  • Using those estimates, how much will I pay you in fees if we settle? Go to trial?
  • How much will I pay in legal expenses if we settle? Go to trial?
  • How much money will remain after legal fees and expenses

You should remember that there is no guarantee that the attorney will obtain money on your behalf or that you'll receive enough money to cover your injury-related medical bills and other expenses. Even if it means you'll have to pay some of these expenses out of pocket, you are still responsible for paying your attorney's legal fees and expenses.