An accident can leave you bedridden for a long time thus causing a lot of stress to you and your family. The costs associated with these injuries are usually too much for anyone to handle on their own. If you have sustained injuries due to someone else’s carelessness, it’s time to take legal action for compensation.
Unfortunately, many people avoid legal disputes because they have no idea how much it will cost them to hire an attorney. The issue of legal costs is not only difficult for clients, but also for personal injury attorneys who are unable to quote the exact figures to their clients on how much they can expect to pay.
This is due to the nature of legal work. When you file a claim, the outcome is always uncertain, thus making it difficult to estimate the amount of work involved. The traditional billing system where lawyers charge by the hour doesn’t help either as no one knows of the amount of time the case will take. While it is possible for a lawyer to give you the price for the whole job up front, it is usually followed by an agreement that if complications arise along the way, the price will go up.
This article highlights seven tips you can follow if you want to get value for your money from your personal injury lawyer. These tips will help to save some money as you seek justice considering the increased costs of accessing legal services nowadays.
1. Shop around and compare the rates
If you look around, you will realise many law firms are offering similar services. Therefore, regardless of where you live, you are spoilt for choice. Although these law firms offer similar services, you will be surprised to know their charges may vary by wide margins. Do a little homework before settling on any law firm because choosing the right firm may save you a lot of money in legal fees.
Here’s why. When you are starting, you will be involved in a working relationship with your attorney, which becomes smoother and more comfortable with time. Thus, if you find the right law firm such as Foyle Legal, you won’t need to hire another lawyer as the case progresses.
2. Discuss the fees with your attorney
If your attorney doesn’t bring up the issue of legal fees, you should. Remember that law firms are in business and they are therefore free to set their fees. It is therefore advisable to discuss legal fees with your attorney at the beginning of the case. At this point, discuss with the attorney on how you will be charged. There are three basic ways of calculating legal fees.
By the hour- These are hourly charges that depend on the attorney’s skill and experience and other factors such as location.
Flat fee-Depending on the nature of your case, the attorney may choose to quote a flat fee. With a flat fee, the amount that you pay is fixed regardless of how long the case takes.
Contingent fee-This is an agreement where the attorney charges a certain percentage of the settlement. If you lose the case, then you won’t pay any legal fees.
Just like other industries, the legal industry is increasingly becoming competitive. If you look around your town, you will realise multiple law firms are fighting for the same client. You can take advantage of these developments and ask for a bargain. You will be surprised to realize that many attorneys are open for negotiations.
If your case is simple, then you can negotiate with your lawyer for a price reduction. Again, if you have a budget, this is the best time to make it clear to the legal team. This will help them to work within your budget and notify you whenever things change.
4. Be organised
Legal matters usually involve a lot of documentation. Once you decide to visit an attorney, you should have all the relevant documents ready. Go through your emails and put together those that relate to your case. Print all the necessary documents and emails and put them in a folder arranged according to their dates.
You can use online tools for legal document preparation services to prepare basic legal documents. These online tools have simplified legal processes making it easier to prepare legal documents, which was initially overwhelming for the general public.
5. Phone calls and interviews
Before you pick the phone to call your lawyer, make sure that you have something important to discuss. Don’t talk about your mothers’ petunias, weather, or baseball playoffs. Chit-chat is expensive. There’s always the inclination to talk about your issues with your attorney, but socialising in the course of the case can be expensive.
Take a brief moment to reconnect with your attorney and then get on with business. If your lawyer keeps veering off the business talk, learn how to bring them back to discuss business at hand. The best practice is to make a list of questions that you want to ask your attorney before scheduling an interview or making a call.
6. Utilise the services of a junior lawyer where possible
Most of the law firms offer internship opportunities to law students where they get the opportunity to learn from experienced lawyers. Although most of the junior lawyers don’t have the experience needed to handle legal matters, they can help with simple work such as documentation. If you are working with a senior counsel, you can request them to delegate some of the simple work to a junior lawyer or articling student whose hourly rate is lower.
7. Maintain a continuing relationship
Once you find the right legal team to work on your case, make sure to maintain a continuing working relationship with them. You can maintain a good relationship by referring your friends to the firm or even giving them more work in other areas they specialise. Creating a good relationship with your lawyers will help you to negotiate for better terms on the current case and future work.