What if I Can't Afford an Attorney?

Posted on behalf of Henness & Haight on Mar 28, 2011 in Personal Injury News

One of the questions that we're asked all the time is, "How can I afford an attorney?". This question can be especially important for people looking for a car accident lawyer in Las Vegas. Personal injury attorneys work a little differently than most attorneys. We charge a contingency fee basis as opposed to an hourly rate. If you've ever been to an attorney before, most attorneys charge you $300 - $500 per hour and make you give them a retainer up front and then draw against that retainer... And then when the retainer runs out they ask you to write them another check, and as you can imagine, many people can't afford to do that. Personal injury attorneys work a little differently. We work on what is called a contingency fee basis, and that means that our fee is contingent on getting money for our clients. If I spend 1000 hours on a client's case but don't get that client any money, the client doesn't owe me anything for my time. We have a strong incentive to get the most money for every client, and we do that anyway, but, obviously, the more money we get for our clients, the higher our fee goes. It's a good situation for most of our clients because they can't afford to write that check up front, and they're generally very pleased with the outcome. One of the things that I tell all my clients to be aware of is the so-called, "discount firms" that charge a discounted contingency fee. In Las Vegas, the standard contingency fee is one-third (33.3%), but there are some firms that advertise less. One of the things you need to watch out for is hidden fees (or hidden charges). Typically those lawyers will charge you for things that other lawyers won't. They'll charge you for a percentage of the property damage that's recovered. Most reputable firms here in Las Vegas don't charge for property damage. They'll also take a percentage of the medical payments coverage that was obtained, and that's money that you would have gotten anyway (even without an attorney). The other thing I always tell my clients is, "If you're dealing with a discounted fee, you're usually going to get discounted service too." So be careful because you get what you pay for.