Should I pay money to my lawyer if I have an accident in New York? No. Your personal injury lawyer should never ask you for money!
“I just had an accident and called a lawyer. I signed some papers and now my personal injury lawyer is asking me for money. Do I need to pay money?”
He went to see an accident lawyer but the lawyer wanted money upfront for medical records and a medical report. This isn’t the first time someone told us that an accident lawyer wanted money up front!
The injury lawyer also told him that he would have to stay out of work for three months! He was lucky that a friend told him to call us.
We told him that we would never charge him any money unless we settle his case and it would be paid out of his settlement money. We also told him that we did not care if he went back to work.
When Should My Lawyer Charge Me for Case Expenses?
We will never ask you to pay money for anything either up front or during your case. We will deduct the expenses for your accident case at the end of your case from your settlement money.
New York personal injury lawyers are required, as of April 1, 2014, by the Appellate Divisions of the New York State Supreme Court to include two options in the retainer regarding your payment of case expenses.
One option requires the personal injury lawyer to pay in advance and be responsible for all case expenses in the event the case is lost.
The other option allows you to pay the case expenses in advance. If you choose to pay the case expenses in advance, you will lose your money in the event your case is lost or your lawyer no longer wants to represent you for your accident and you cannot find another lawyer.
Why would you want to advance the expenses for your accident case? Because if you choose to pay the case expenses in advance, your legal fee will be lowered by 1/3 of the amount of your expenses.
Example of the two options, if your case settles for $100,000 and expenses are $1,000
If your lawyer pays the case expenses in advance:
$100,000.00 Total settlement
-$33,333.33 33 1/3 legal fee
-$1,000.00 Expenses (paid back at end of case)
$65,666.67 Amount to you (no income tax on money for pain-and-suffering)
If you pay the case expenses in advance:
$100,000.00 Total settlement
-$1,000.00 Expenses paid back at end of case
-$33,000.00 1/3 legal fee
$66,000.00 Amount to you (no income tax on money for pain-and-suffering)
We have not had any clients who wanted to advance case expenses and we prefer to advance the case expenses because it makes it much easier for us.
Why Would My Accident Lawyer Ask Me for Money?
If your accident lawyer is asking for any money up front or during the case, it either means:
- The lawyer doesn’t have confidence in your case or
- The lawyer has money problems.
Why Shouldn’t I pay Money to My Accident Lawyer?
- If your personal injury lawyer doesn’t have confidence in your case, you could lose your money if you pay up front.
- If your personal injury attorney is asking you for money now, it’s highly likely that your attorney will ask you for money later again during your case! What will you do when you’re a lawyer calls you 8 months from now and asks you to pay $1,500 for a doctor’s report?
If you are injured in an accident, your personal injury lawyer should never ask you for any money!
We charge a 1/3 legal fee which is also paid at the end of your case and only if we are successful.
See our SIMPLE FEE GUARANTEE™ and easy to read but detailed article about how much it costs to hire a personal injury attorney and the difference between other accident attorneys and us.
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Partner Phil Franckel, Esq. talks about difficult cases and the 1-800-HURT-911® Personal Injury Dream Team™