If you were involved in an accident that compromised your physical and mental health, working with a qualified personal injury attorney can be beneficial. Depending on the complexity of your case and your attorney’s level of experience, the average fees of a personal injury attorney in Arizona range from less than $100 to more than $500 per working hour. Understanding how much does a lawyer cost helps when mentally weighing the potential financial risk. With all personal injury claims, the attorneys at Sargon Law Group do not charge unless and until you receive a recovery.
How Much Does a Lawyer Cost: Pricing Determination
Before determining how they will bill you, law firms first perform a price determination analysis to figure out how much does a lawyer cost. There are three general methods for calculating what their general costs should be:
- Competition-based method: The firm analyzes the costs of the competition in the local area. If attorneys in similar areas of law with the same experience level charge within a certain range, your lawyer can take this into account.
- Cost-based method: The overhead costs are usually factored into your lawyer’s legal fees. If your lawyer’s office is located on prime real estate, he or she may charge more simply because of the location.
- Value-based method: This method is two-fold. If your case is a high-profile one that may have a significant payout, your lawyer may lower your upfront fees. If your lawyer is highly rated by previous clients and has an impressive track record, he or she may charge above-average fees.
How Much Does a Lawyer Cost: Typical Billing Framework
There are different layers built into the billing structure for legal fees. Before deciding on which law firm to choose, it is important to determine how fees will be charged. There are several ways that you can be billed for legal services.
Billing by Hour
Using an hourly rate structure is a popular practice among attorneys. Your lawyer may opt to charge for each hour spent working or consulting on your case. It is important to note that ancillary fees may or may not be factored into the hourly rate.
The main downside to this billing structure is that the overall cost cannot be determined ahead of time. To estimate the final amount that you will be billed, find out whether the following fees are separated or included in overall costs:
- Personal investigator fees
- Paralegal fees
- Expert witness fees
- Travel expenses
- Court proceeding fees
- Criminal fees, if found guilty
Note that criminal fees may include jail time, criminal record investigation, and fines determined by the court.
Billing on Contingency
In this scenario, you are not billed until after your case is settled. Rather, your lawyer takes a percentage of the resulting settlement or payout. This method precipitates obvious price variance among clients; however, it eliminates the need to pay before your lawyer’s services are rendered. It is how Sargon Law Group works on all personal injury cases.
Contingency billing is common in personal injury cases where a monetary settlement is a primary goal. The main caveat to this type of billing structure is that your payout can be decreased depending on the length of court proceedings and the resulting legal charges. Contingency fees can range anywhere from 25% to 40% of the resulting settlement. Review your contract to confirm how your lawyer gets paid if your case does not end with a monetary payoff. At Sargon Law Group, if there is no recovery, the clients do not pay.
Billing by Fixed Fee and/or Retainer
Your lawyer may charge a pre-determined upfront fee for all services to be paid, rather than billing for each hour devoted to your case. They may even charge a retainer fee ahead of time, which is typically a portion of the total fixed fee. Your lawyer may opt for this type of billing method for cases that are familiar and have predictable outcomes.
A retainer fee may also be applied to an hourly billing arrangement. For example, your lawyer may charge you a retainer fee once hired and then deduct the hourly rate from this retainer as they work on your case.
How Much Does a Lawyer Cost: Specific Factors
Beyond price determination and billing methods, there are other important factors that can affect how much your lawyer charges you.
Level of Experience
A veteran lawyer with a record of successful case outcomes generally charges more than a newly graduated one with a short case list. If your lawyer has practiced personal injury law for more than a decade and has a proven track record, you may be charged more, but the successful outcome is likely to outweigh the legal fees. Note that if your lawyer lacks experience with your particular incident, he or she may refer you to another attorney who is more qualified. This may incur a referral fee.
Area of Expertise
Generally, the more familiar your lawyer is with a particular area of law, the more expensive your legal fees will be. For example, if you were involved in a complicated accident involving an Uber driver and your attorney is well-versed in these types of cases, he or she may charge more than other attorneys who lack experience in this area.
Amount of Workload
The complexity level of your case is often factored into the overall legal costs. As a case gets more complicated, more time is needed to devote to proper research, in-depth meetings, interviews, and possible negotiations.
Why You Should Not Consider Cost for Your Lawyer
In the event that you choose to self-represent, there are variables that can negatively affect your success. Without a professional lawyer, you do not have a legitimate source of professional guidance for your case. You may not understand all the requirements you need to fulfill prior to and during your case. You may not understand that liens and medical bills apply and find yourself in collections or subject to lawsuits seeking recovery. Further, you may not know how to legally defend yourself in court. It is highly recommended to have an experienced Phoenix personal injury attorney in your corner after you are involved in an accident.
The factors to determine how much does a lawyer cost in Arizona make it easier to understand why attorney fees can get expensive. Based in Phoenix, the Sargon Law Group is devoted to fighting for justice on your behalf with zero out-of-pocket expense. Contact us for a free consultation.