How Much Does a Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?
After an accident, injury victims are often left with many immediate expenses. They may have to pay medical bills and pharmacy costs out of pocket. Damaged property might have to be replaced right away. Other expenses can accrue at a time when the victim is out of work and not receiving a regular paycheck. The last thing an injury victim needs is the added financial burden of hiring a lawyer. This is why the experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorneys at Deldar Legal can represent you without any upfront attorney fees. Call (844) 335-3271 to schedule your free consultation.
How Do Personal Injury Lawyers Get Paid?
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee. This means that they do not accept their attorneys’ fees via an upfront retainer, nor do they work on an hourly basis. Instead, they agree to accept a portion of any settlement or jury award the client receives. If the client does not get a settlement or award, the attorney does not get paid.
Sometimes a personal injury claim can be settled without filing a lawsuit. Other times, it is necessary to file a lawsuit or continue litigating the claim all the way to trial. Litigation takes far more time, effort, and legal expertise. Because of this, many personal injury lawyers require a higher portion of the settlement once litigation commences. Clients should be sure they fully understand the percentage of settlement or jury award to which their attorney is entitled before engaging him or her. Clients should also be sure they understand the costs of filing a lawsuit. Court filing fees, expert witness fees, and other expenses are advanced by the law firm on the client’s behalf. They are then reimbursed from the settlement or jury award (in addition to the percentage to which the attorney is entitled as his or her fees).
Because contingency fees are not a calculation of hourly work, they can become quite complicated. The State Bar of California requires attorneys to clearly explain these fees to clients in writing before entering into a contingency fee agreement. Any costs should be itemized and explained. If you have any questions about your attorney’s fees or expenses, be sure to ask questions.
What About My Other Out-of-Pocket Expenses?
All too often, injury victims are forced to pay for some expenses related to the accident. Co-pays, pharmacy bills, over-the-counter medications, and medical devices (such as a sling or crutches) are usually needed right away. Often, the victim cannot wait to process a claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance company, and must simply pay for these expenses him- or herself. The negligent party’s insurance company has a legal obligation to reimburse the victim for these expenses. It is, therefore, very important to keep receipts and document any accident-related expenses. Even mileage to and from your medical appointments is an out-of-pocket expense that can be reimbursed. A Los Angeles personal injury lawyer can help you determine which expenses can be reimbursed and how they should be documented.
Sometimes reimbursement becomes far more complicated. A health insurance company that pays for medical care related to the accident has the right to be reimbursed for these payments. (This includes Medicare and Medicaid programs.) This is known as the right of subrogation. Your health insurance carrier will usually claim reimbursement from your settlement. The defendant’s insurance company can also reimburse them directly. In either event, it is important to be aware of your health insurance company’s right to subrogation. Some accident victims are unaware of this right and spend their settlements without reimbursing the health insurance carrier. This does not change the fact that the company has the right to be reimbursed. Health insurers have options for collecting this debt, and their lawyers have been known to pursue subrogation rights aggressively at times. The Claims Journal recently posted an article about the mistakes health insurance companies make in pursuing their subrogation rights. This is just one of many ways in which the health insurance industry trains its workers to protect insurers’ rights of subrogation.
What Costs Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me Recover?
Often, injury victims who hire attorneys are able to secure larger settlements than those who do not. This is because an experienced attorney knows both what you are entitled to be compensated for and how to prove the value of these losses. Here are some of the losses an attorney can help you recover:
You are entitled to be reimbursed for the full value of all medical expenses related to the accident. You are also entitled to compensation for the value of all future medical expenses that are related to the accident. This projection can become complicated. Often, an economist or financial expert is needed in order to establish what the fair value of these future expenses is projected to be.
Your lost wages are not simply the value of the hours of work you missed as a result of the accident. It also includes bonuses, commissions, and overtime that were lost due to the accident. It also covers any employment benefits (such as health insurance) that you lost out on because of the accident. In the case of permanent or severe injuries, the victim is sometimes unable to return to work at all. Other victims are able to return to work, but only at reduced hours or with reduced responsibilities. These situations result in a loss of future earning potential. These future projections are also compensable losses.
Physical and Emotional Pain and Suffering
Most accident victims experience significant pain and suffering as a result of their other injuries. Fortunately, under California law, pain and suffering are recognized as a compensable loss for which plaintiffs can recover. In fact, in some cases, damages for pain and suffering accounts for the majority of a person’s settlement or award. As a result, it’s highly advisable for accident victims to retain an attorney with experience negotiating personal injury settlements and litigating claims.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney
The only way to fully protect your legal rights is to retain a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. The sooner you have an attorney fighting for you, the less opportunity there will be for the insurance company to harass you, or bully you into accepting a lowball settlement offer. An attorney can also help protect you from saying or doing things that might hurt your personal injury claim. Call Deldar Legal at (844) 335-3271 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer.
Posted in: Personal Injury