Do I Need to Pay a Lawyer for Filing a Lawsuit?
If you’re looking to file a lawsuit, you may be wondering if you have to pay a lawyer for filing a lawsuit. Find all the answers here.
Are you deciding if you should forgo an attorney? You can file a lawsuit without legal representation, but experts recommend hiring an attorney sooner rather than later.
You must adhere to various filing procedures to ensure your case proceeds smoothly. If you miss a step, your case could suffer from delays or dismissals. You’ll also face other roadblocks in the form of insurance companies and defense attorneys.
Insurance companies can pressure you into accepting lower settlements. In other cases, defendants can hire seasoned defense attorneys that can discredit your claim. Your attorney can buffer claims from the other side, ensuring you get just compensation.
This article will elaborate on the burning question: “Do I pay a lawyer for filing a lawsuit?” Let’s explore.
Does Filing a Lawsuit Cost Money?
Overall, you’ll pay between $100 to $500 to file a lawsuit. The cost depends on the location of the court and whether the case will be heard by a judge or jury.
Even though you can file a lawsuit without a lawyer, you should hire a lawyer anyway. Your attorney can guide you through the filing process. They will ensure you file on time and have all the necessary documents to prove your case.
When it comes to deadlines, you usually have one year to file your case. That said, you should file as early as possible.
If you file at a later date, you may fail to remember key details that could have strengthened your case. You may also lose access to evidence and eyewitnesses. An attorney can help you file as early as possible.
The Cost Is Worth It
Attorneys can be expensive, but you stand a better chance of winning your case with legal counsel. When discussing personal injury cases, for example, victims usually receive a 40% higher settlement compared to victims who represent themselves.
Lawyers are also crucial during insurance cases. Before you file a lawsuit, the insurance company may offer a quick settlement.
Don’t take this offer. In most cases, insurance companies offer low-ball settlements to victims.
Many victims take the money out of desperation. Perhaps the victims are behind on their bills or mortgage/rent payments. With an attorney’s help, you can help you get a higher sum.
You don’t have to accept the first offer on the table, and you have the right to ask for money. Lawyers can negotiate on your behalf until you get a satisfactory sum. The negotiation process can take weeks or months, but you may get more money in the long-term.
Getting a Lawsuit Loan
If you’re struggling financially and need short-term cash, you can apply for a settlement loan. A settlement loan allows you to pay for your immediate expenses until you get your settlement.
A lawsuit advance helps you resist the temptation of accepting meager settlements. By allowing the negotiating phase to run its course, you can get a higher settlement in the process. The best way to get a higher settlement is to hire an attorney.
If insurance negotiations fail, your lawyer may recommend litigation. Attorneys are worth the cost because they handle most of the legal work. Filing a lawsuit is a cumbersome process that involves the following steps:
- Pleadings: The court will deliver the complaint to the defendant, and the defendant has a certain amount of time to respond. The defendant may also file a counter lawsuit.
- Discovery: This step entails the evidence-gathering process. Both sides will request documents and information. You may also have to find experts and witnesses that will boost your claim.
- Trial: You must present your case to a judge or jury using evidence, witnesses, or experts. An attorney can present your case within a legal framework. Attorneys are trained to communicate to judges and juries succinctly.
Without a settlement offer, a civil lawsuit can take between one to three years. An attorney can streamline the process and help you gather the necessary evidence. If you’re dealing with a personal injury, your attorney can handle the legal work so you can focus on recovery.
Attorney fees break down as follows:
- Hourly Rate: Attorneys can charge anywhere from $100 to $200 an hour. Seasoned experts may charge higher. However, attorneys who charge more usually finish the case faster to keep costs down.
- Flat Fee: An attorney may charge a one-time flat fee. If the attorney has a flat fee structure, ask them what the fee will cover. The flat fee may not cover filing fees.
- Retainer: The retainer structure entails a lump-sum payment that could stem from the attorney’s hourly rate. The attorney will hold onto the funds and use the money as the case proceeds. If this payment structure applies to you, review the billing statements to see the deductions.
- Contingency Fees: The lawyer will only receive a payment if they win your case. If you achieve victory, attorneys usually deduct a third of the award money as payment.
The contingency fee structure is the most common fee system for personal injury cases. A flat fee usually applies to divorce or probate cases.
Since each attorney has different payment structures, inquire about the payment plan before hiring them. Additionally, read over the attorney-client agreement to know about miscellaneous expenses in the form of copy and filing fees.
Should I File a Lawsuit Without an Attorney?
If you’re still wondering if you should file a lawsuit without legal representation, prioritize an attorney above all else. You’re more likely to win your case with an attorney, and you may receive more money.
Without an attorney, the courts and insurance companies can take advantage of your plight.
Are you dealing with a car accident case? Click here to learn more about car accident settlements.