Did you know that accidental injury is one of the leading causes of death in the United States? Every day, thousands of people suffer from preventable injuries because of someone else’s negligence or reckless behavior. In Nevada, the law allows these victims to seek fair and reasonable compensation from the at-fault party. But a large number of people don’t even sit down with a lawyer to see if they have a case. Why? One of the top reasons is that they fear the cost. The good news is, meeting with a personal injury lawyer is probably less expensive than you think—in most cases, in fact, it’s free.
Attorney Fee Basics: The Initial Meeting
Serious accidents can cause life-changing injuries. When your life is upended and you have to figure out what comes next, a personal injury lawsuit can help you make sure you have the money to focus on your recovery and get the treatment you need. An experienced attorney can process your case and help you get the compensation you deserve.
Before you retain a personal injury lawyer, you need to feel comfortable. Your attorney is someone who will work with you throughout your case and the person you will trust to represent your best interests. The best way to find out if an attorney is right for you is to sit down and have a conversation.
So why do so many people skip this step? Once again, it comes down to cost. But did you know that most personal injury attorneys offer a free initial consultation? This means you can talk to several attorneys before you choose who you want to work with.
What to Expect at Your Initial Consultation
The initial consultation is your opportunity to get to know your potential attorney and vice versa. Now is the time to figure out how they work, the size of their team, and their potential strategy. Likewise, the attorney will want to learn more about your case. The more information they have, the better they can decide whether they want to take on your case. To get the most out of your meeting, there are a few things you should bring with you to give to the attorney.
- Pictures of where and how your injuries occurred
- Your insurance information (including your auto insurance if you were in a motor vehicle accident)
- The other party’s contact details and insurance information
- The accident report (if there is one). You can request a copy of this report from the local police station.
- Relative medical records
- Receipts for related purchases
- Any correspondences from the insurance company or the other party
This list is not all-inclusive. Ask the personal injury attorney you are meeting with if there is anything specific they need before your consultation.
Why You Should Treat the Initial Consultation Like a Job Interview
You may think, “I don’t have to pay for my initial consultation, so I don’t really need to think much about the meeting.” This is a mistake. An injury doesn’t just affect you, it can affect your entire family. In addition to medical costs, you may also have to deal with lost wages and pain and suffering. Make the most out of any consultation you attend and have the attorney prove they are right for your case.
To do this, ask these questions:
- What size of a team do you work with? Will they all be a part of my case?
- Do you have enough time to devote to my case? What is your typical caseload?
- How can I reach you? Is there any time when you might not be available (e.g. vacation or extended holiday)?
- Do you have trial experience? Are you comfortable taking my case to court?
- Have you worked on cases similar to mine before?
- What can I do to help with the case?
- Do you work with doctors or medical facilities in the area?
- How much are your fees? Will I have to pay for anything if I lose?
- What do you think of my case? How long do you think it will take?
Remember, no matter how many questions you ask, at the end of the day, you have to trust your gut. If you don’t feel comfortable with an attorney or it just doesn’t feel right, it’s okay to continue your search.
Moving Forward: What Can I Expect to Pay After the Initial Consultation?
Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means their fees are a predetermined percentage of your final settlement or judgment. For example, if you settle for $100,000 and your attorney charges a 30 percent contingency fee, this means they will receive $30,000 out of your final settlement. In addition, most attorneys charge for necessary costs separate from their traditional fees.
This may include:
- Postage or mailing fees
- Record request fees
- Lodging or travel costs
- Copying costs
- Filing fees or other court charges
The amount of the contingency fee can vary from practice to practice or even from case to case. The Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct govern the rules attorneys must follow in regards to fees and state law limits how much an attorney can recover in personal injury cases against healthcare providers. Here at Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers, LLC, we typically charge a 33 percent contingency fee prior to trial, which increases if it does in fact move to litigation; additionally, the firm will never make more than the client – a practice not shared by most personal injury firms.
Invest in Your Future
The number one goal after any accident is to make sure you get better. The best way to do this is to ensure you have the funds to pay for necessary treatment and take time off of work. Unfortunately, the insurance company’s priority is to pay you as little as possible. This is how they make a profit. Don’t let them get away with this. After an injury, you have rights. If your injury is the result of someone else’s negligence, they may hold financial liability. If you have questions or need help with your case, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Learn how to find a the right lawyer for you today.