While everyone requires legal services at some point in their lives, most people never expect to find themselves in a situation where they’d need the services of a personal injury lawyer in California.
Until the unexpected occurs, and then they’re forced to seek out legal counsel.
Whether it’s monetary compensation for the physical and emotional distress you experienced during a motor vehicle accident or loss of enjoyment of life due to a disability triggered following a workplace accident, you should familiarize yourself with the costs and fees associated with hiring a personal injury lawyer.
The amount you end up paying for the services of a personal injury lawyer can vary greatly. It depends on the specific kind of service you’re seeking, the nature of your personal injury, and the reputation/track record of the law firm/individual you end up choosing.
So here is a useful guide to help you make the right choice when selecting a Sacramento area personal injury lawyer.
What Is a Personal Injury Lawyer
A personal injury lawyer is a civil lawyer that represents parties in personal disputes that involve injuries. These injuries could be physical and/or mental in nature and are often the result of negligence, such as vehicular accidents and/or medical malpractice.
However, cases involving intentional personal injury carried out by the opposing party are also commonly picked up by personal injury lawyers. These can include but are not limited to assault, invasion of privacy, and false imprisonment.
What Kind of Services Do They Provide?
The goal of personal injury lawyers is to ensure that clients are adequately compensated for their damages that occurred by another party. They could also be hired to defending parties that have been sued for causing personal injury to others.
The cases a personal injury lawyer handles could be classified into one of the following three types:
These cases arise when a person or party has brought harm upon another through accident or reckless incompetence. An instance of this could be a medical staff at a hospital that administers the wrong medication to a patient and inadvertently inflicts harm upon them.
The plaintiff is required to prove four elements for a claim of negligence to succeed. These elements are:
- Duty: The defendant generally possesses the duty of caring for the plaintiff, or behaving in a manner that an ordinary person would act in around the plaintiff.
- Breach: The plaintiff needs to prove that the defendant was in breach of their duties, such as a mechanic failing to check the brakes on a vehicle given to them for servicing.
- Causation: The cause of the plaintiff’s injuries need to be tied to the actions (or inaction) of the defendant. Personal injury lawyers will generally try to find a cause that is closely related to the actions of the defendant to build a stronger case.
- Damages: The plaintiff needs to prove the extent to which the incident impacted their physical and/or mental well-being. The more substantial the evidence they provide, the stronger their resulting case will be.
Intentional torts generally include cases where harm was done to the plaintiff intentionally or on purpose, such as assault or false imprisonment. The elements of these cases can vary depending on the nature of the intentional tort that occurred.
There could be cases where a defendant is charged despite having had no initial intention of harming the plaintiff. For example, a defendant rapidly flashing a light at the plaintiff prior to them suffering an epileptic seizure while being unaware of their photosensitive epilepsy diagnosis. This falls into a category known as Strict Liability.
Companies that sell defective products are commonly the defendants in such cases, with the plaintiff having been harmed during usage of said products. Examples of this could be improperly written instruction manuals or manufacturing defects.
How Do Personal Injury Lawyers Get Paid?
Personal injury lawyers generally receive a percentage of the compensation they aided their client in winning as punitive payment. This is in contrast to other types of lawyers, such as immigration or divorce lawyers that often charge clients on an hourly basis or for general consultations. That being said, there are personal injury lawyers that charge on an hourly basis too.
The main advantage of pursuing the services of a personal injury lawyer is that clients are expected to pay lawyer fees only if they win their case and receive compensation. The setup of such a system typically implies that there are no initial consultation fees associated with personal injury lawyers.
Therefore clients who are suffering from distress as a result of their physical or mental injuries are spared the discomfort of needlessly looking for legal counsel.
What Do Personal Injury Lawyers Charge for Their Services
A survey conducted found that the vast majority of personal injury lawyers charge contingency fees of around 30% – 33%, with very few charging below 25% or above 40%.
The contingency fee is generally subject to factors like the level of involvement of the lawyer on the case, the complexity of the case, the likelihood of the client winning, and the expected compensation amount.
Cases, where it is believed that the client has a low chance of winning, are often charged a higher fee due to the elevated risk of not receiving compensation.
Factors That Affect Compensation Amount
- Permanent injuries
- Brain injuries
- Time-consuming medical appointments
- High medical expenses
Factors that are likely to lower the compensation amount include (but are not limited to):
- Temporary injuries
- Minor soft tissue injuries
- Physical injuries that aren’t outwardly apparent
- Requiring little medical attention
- Low medical expenses
What Happens If You Loose Your Case?
If in the event your lawsuit cannot be won you are out nothing financially. The law firm will pick up the tab for any costs that they incurred while pursuing your case. You walk away without any legal financial obligations even if the law firm paid court costs and other fee associated with your case in advance.
Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
The short answer is yes. Given that most insurance companies have a team of lawyers on staff, it’s in your best interest to also seek legal counsel to get a better understanding of where you stand and how likely it is that your case will succeed.
A well-experienced personal injury lawyer should possess a good understanding of the right compensation amount to request for your case, as well as provide a better assessment of your situation. They should also be able to pick up on details around the injury incident you may have overlooked.
A recent survey found that people who hired personal injury lawyers to handle their claims were more likely to win payouts. They were, on average, far more satisfied with the outcome of their case than those that chose to represent themselves.
It may also be in your best interest to allow a personal injury lawyer to do the heavy-lifting that you may have difficulty carrying out following your injury. This can include tasks like reviewing your medical history, retrieving information from past doctors, or assessing your previous driving record. You’re already going through somewhat of a difficult time, so why not have a professional look into these things?
Navigating civil lawsuits can be complicated for anyone attempting to do it on their own. Therefore you must receive the right services to aid you during the course of your recovery and quest for compensation. It’s always a good idea to do your research, meet with the selected candidates, and then select a lawyer. Legal matters should not be taken lightly.
Reserve Your Free Consultation
At the law office of Phoong Law Corp, we provide outstanding legal assistance to those injured in vehicle accidents. We have two convenient locations to serve you, one in Sacramento and the other in Stockton, California.
Schedule an appointment today to find out about your legal options. Please don’t wait, contact us now and have us working your case while you focus on your recovery.