Any time you hire a personal injury lawyer in Burlington, you’re entering into a fee agreement. Many people can write up their own agreements, but if you want to make sure that your lawyer is on the same page as you are, it’s best to use an attorney’s services and then ask them to draft your agreement. So what should be in your lawyer’s fee agreement and how it can help protect both sides?
Your lawyer’s hourly rate is a critical part of your agreement. You want to make sure that it’s comparable to other lawyers in your area and as affordable as possible. If you are a small business and this is an important factor, be sure to get quotes from several different firms before choosing one.
When it comes down to determining what constitutes a reasonable expense, there are no hard-and-fast rules; every situation has different expenses associated with it and every person has different priorities when choosing between one thing over another. Here are some general guidelines:
Expert witness fees – A good estimate for expert witness costs can range anywhere from $50-$200 per hour depending on their experience level (e.g., if they have been doing this type of work for years). If an expert witness charge more than $200 per hour then expect them to work very quickly.
A retainer is a fixed amount of money you pay to your lawyer before they get started on your case. It’s usually paid in advance, so the lawyer can use it to start working on your behalf right away.
A contingency fee is a percentage of the money recovered in case you win. In other words, if your client recovers $100,000 from their lawsuit and you charge them a 10% contingency fee, that means that for every dollar they recover through the lawsuit (and not just the original amount), 10 cents will go toward paying your legal bill. This is why people get so freaked out about lawyers charging them for their services!
A “bucket agreement” is a fixed amount of money that the client pays to their lawyer at the beginning of a case, and then additional fees are billed as they are incurred. This arrangement can be useful when clients want to control their legal costs because it means they know exactly how much they have spent on each case so far, which helps them budget better.
What constitutes a billable hour?
A billable hour means that your lawyer has billed you for the time he or she spent working on your case, not the time it took him or her to get into his or her car and drive over to your office.
What expenses are covered under the agreement?
If you’re not sure, ask the lawyer what expenses are covered. If there is a specific list of expenses that are covered, that should be in the agreement. Otherwise, ask specifically which ones they would cover before signing it.
The fee agreement is the most important document you will sign with your lawyer.
It should be in writing, detailed and specific, signed by both parties, reviewed and updated regularly. Asking for an hourly rate is not enough—you need to know what that hourly rate covers before making any decisions about hiring a lawyer or making other financial commitments related to legal issues (for example: paying court costs).