You may have heard stories of lawyers charging $200, $400 or even $500 an hour. These stories would certainly make you wonder if you can afford to hire a San Antonio personal injury lawyer if you suffer an injury.
Fortunately, the answer to the question “can you afford to hire a San Antonio personal injury attorney” is a very simple “yes.”
How you can afford a good San Antonio personal injury attorney
If attorneys are charging $200 or more an hour, it’s because they are working on an hourly fee basis. When an individual or company hires one of these attorneys to represent him or her in, say, a criminal case or some kind of white-collar case, the attorney will bill by the hour and, as you can imagine, the total costs can become astronomical. For example, if you were to hire an attorney because you are accused of embezzling from your employer, it might cost you $2000 or $3000 a week.
In comparison, a personal injury attorney almost always works on a contingency fee basis. He will consult with you initially free to assess your case. If he agrees that you have a case worth pursuing, your personal injury attorney will take a percentage of the settlement–that is, how much money he can win for you. In the State of Texas, contingency fees can range from 25% to 40%. If all your attorney has to do is negotiate a settlement with an insurance company, he may take only the 25%. However, if the case ends up going to trial, your fee could be as high as that 40%.
Why so much?
Personal injury attorneys feel, and most people agree, that if they need to try a case, there will most likely be much higher out-of-pocket expenses. For example, your attorney may have to pay expert witnesses to help prove that the other party was at fault or to verify your medical expenses. A personal injury attorney will pay these, and then count on being reimbursed when the case is settled. As you might imagine, this represents a gamble on your lawyer’s part. If he was to spend $10,000 or $12,000 on expert witnesses and then lose their case in court, they would be out that money but here’s the good news … you would not.
Personal injury cases can be very complicated
Personal injury cases can be so complicated that you really can’t afford to not hire a San Antonio personal injury attorney.
Take an automobile accident as an example. You could be driving along, minding your own business, when another driver broadsides you. On the face of it, it might seem that the other driver was 100% at fault. However, that driver’s insurance company will do its best to prove that you contributed to the accident, which is called contributory negligence. If the insurance company can prove that you were 20%, 30%, or 40% negligent, this would dramatically affect your settlement. In fact, if the insurance company could prove that you were 40% at fault, you would might collect only 60% of the total settlement.
However, an experienced and skilled San Antonio personal injury attorney could help build a case that would show the other party was 100% at fault to get you the settlement you deserve.
So the question is not how can you afford to hire a personal injury attorney, it’s how can you afford not to?