How Much Will It Cost? Bike Injury Lawyer Fees Explained
Hiring a lawyer can be really scary. Most people who hire us have never worked with an attorney before, and they only know one thing: lawyer fees are expensive.
Of course, that’s not always true and in fact, the price of an attorney varies wildly depending on what you’ve hired them to do. This is particularly true when you hire a lawyer to help you pursue a bike injury case.
To help you understand what bike injury lawyer fees are and how they might work in your case, we’ve put together this short guide breaking it all down. If you still have questions, feel free to give us a call at (415) 466-8717 and we’d be happy to offer you a free consultation!
How bike injury lawyer fees work
In almost every bike injury case, your lawyer will be paid a percentage of your final settlement. Typically, this will be ⅓ of the settlement if no lawsuit is filed, and 40% if a lawsuit is filed.
Your attorney’s fee should always be discussed in advance and confirmed in writing. The document confirming your bike injury lawyer fees is called a contingent fee agreement, and if you are working with an attorney, drafting and signing one of these should happen early on. If it doesn’t, ask about it before proceeding with the case; the law requires that this document exist to avoid any later confusion about legal fees and expenses.
In addition to the percentage of your final settlement, your lawyer may also take a sum from your settlement to cover out-of-pocket expenses associated with working on your case. This includes things like:
- medical record fees
- printing/copying charges
- traffic collision report charges
- 911 recording charges
- travel expenses from visiting the accident scene
- investigator fees
At Bay Area Bicycle Law, we will pay all of these fees up front and then reimburse ourselves from the final settlement cost. These costs are usually minimal, and typically do not amount to more than a few hundred dollars.
Bike injury lawyer fees increase if you go to trial
Very few bike injury cases go to trial. The fee information we just discussed applies to the vast majority of bike injury cases; there is a very slim chance that your situation will be particularly different from the fees we outlined above. Only about 2-3% of cases ever go to trial.
However, if your case falls into that 2-3% and does go to trial, it becomes much more expensive for everyone — including you (but nevertheless may be well worth it, if the insurance company is being very unreasonable!).
You might decide that you want to take your case to trial if any of these factors apply:
- disputed liability (it’s not clear who is at fault)
- high damages
- treatment red flags (gaps in treatment, mis-diagnosed injuries, etc.)
- lack of cooperation from the defendant driver or their insurance provider
- if you have made a statement that can be interpreted against you
You will be responsible for covering many of the costs associated with going to trial, including:
- case filing fees
- jury fees
- subpoenaing records
- mediation fees
- investigation costs
- exhibit preparation
- expert fees
Again, these expenses will most likely be fronted by your attorney and then paid back out of your final settlement, per your attorney agreement.
Not hiring an attorney could cost you even more
Going it alone can actually end up costing you far more than hiring an attorney, because of the cost of mistakes and missed opportunities.
While you might think, “Forget hiring an attorney if they’re going to take 1/3 — I can handle this all myself”, then you are forgetting one key thing: an attorney can help you get much, much more for your case than you could likely do yourself.
Why? Because experienced cyclist attorneys know the ins and outs of cases like yours, and have negotiated dozens or even hundreds of settlements before. They know where to look to find more value in your case and can find opportunities that you might not even think of!
Not to mention the fact that an attorney knows the tricks and pitfalls insurance companies will try to set up to get you to admit fault or accept a lower settlement. One slip of the tongue could cost you thousands of dollars, and you might not even realize it when it happens.
Plus, hiring an attorney means freeing yourself up to recover and get back to living your normal life. Running a case on your own often means spending countless hours getting documents and materials together, talking on the phone with insurance adjusters trying to trip you up, and preparing for and going to meetings and negotiations — all of this on top of your medical care, physical therapy, normal household duties, and getting back to work.
Insurance companies tend to take lawyers more seriously, too, which means your case will get handled faster and be taken more seriously. In order to avoid facing your lawyer in a lengthy court case, the insurance company will be motivated to negotiate a favorable settlement earlier.
So while hiring an attorney does cost money, you get a lot of value back. And with something as serious as an injury case that could affect your ability to get back on your feet, you want to take that seriously.
Call Bay Area Bicycle Law to discuss your case today!
You can call us anytime to talk about your case. You will speak with an experienced attorney who specializes in bike crashes, and your consultation is completely free, confidential, and there is no obligation. There’s really no reason not to call and get advice!