How Much Do Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Charge?
When you are the victim in a motorcycle accident, it's common to think about hiring a lawyer. But if you've never before hired an attorney, you may have no idea how much motorcycle accident lawyers cost. This article explains how personal injury attorneys, including lawyers who handle motorcycle accident cases, charge for their time.
Two Types of Legal Fees
Most personal injury lawyers charge for their time in one of two ways: contingency fee or an hourly rate (also known as an hourly fee).
With a contingency fee, you only pay the attorney if he or she recovers money on your behalf. With an hourly rate, you pay for the actual time an attorney works on your case, regardless of whether you win or lose.
Contingency Fees & Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits
By far, most lawyers charge a contingency fee when representing accident victims, including motorcycle accident victims. When a lawyer takes a case on contingency, the client agrees to pay the lawyer a set percentage of any financial judgment or settlement. (You'll also be responsible for reimbursing the attorney for any expenses incurred on your behalf.) If the lawyer is unable to recover money for you, you pay nothing.
Contingency fee percentages vary from region to region, but you'll probably find that most motorcycle accident lawyers quote you the same or similar percentage.
It is perfectly acceptable to try to negotiate a lower percentage before hiring an attorney. You can also ask the attorney to calculate his or her fee based on the net award (after expenses are deducted) and not the gross award (before expenses are deducted). These negotiations should occur before you agree to hire an attorney.
Contingency fees offer a couple of advantages. The primary advantage is that you don't have to pay any money to the motorcycle accident attorney up front, nor do you have to pay any legal fees if you're unable to win the case. Also, because the attorney stands to share in your judgment or settlement, he or she will be motivated to try to secure the largest possible award.
On the downside, you may feel as if you've overpaid the lawyer if he or she obtains a large settlement with little effort.
Hourly Fees for Motorcycle Accident Cases
It is far less common for a motorcycle accident lawyer to charge an hourly rate to represent a motorcycle accident injury victim. When hiring an attorney at an hourly rate, you pay for all of the time the lawyer actually spends on the case, regardless of the outcome. You'll also be responsible for reimbursing the attorney for any expenses he or she incurs.
Many motorcycle accident attorneys only charge an hourly rate if they think the accident victim has a weak case or doesn't stand to get a large financial award. If an attorney is unwilling to represent you on contingency, you should ask why. This may tell you something about the prospects of your case.
Total Fees of Hiring Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Make sure you understand the fees before hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer. For example, consider asking them to walk you through the potential finances for your case:
- How much does the lawyer realistically think you could be awarded in a settlement or at trial?
- How much of that award would go to pay the motorcycle accident lawyer's legal fees?
- How much of that award would go to pay the lawyer's expenses?
- How much money would you be left with?
It's important to remember that-regardless of whether you hire an attorney on contingency or at an hourly rate-you cannot be sure of receiving enough money to completely cover your medical bills, the cost of repairing or replacing your motorcycle, and proper compensation for your pain and suffering.