Why Does My Lawyer Want Me to Pay Money?

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!

Personal injury lawyer asking 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?”

That is the question we were asked by a new client who had a broken hip in a motorcycle accident in the Bronx.

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 upfront!

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 the 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 upfront or during the case, it either means:

  1. The lawyer doesn’t have confidence in your case or
  2. The lawyer has money problems.

Why Shouldn’t I pay Money to My Accident Lawyer?

  1. If your personal injury lawyer doesn’t have confidence in your case, you could lose your money if you pay upfront.
  2. 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?

Do not pay money to an injury attorney

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.

See what is included in our legal fee and what expenses we do not charge you.

See more answers to FAQs

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Attorney Phil FranckelPhilip L. Franckel, Esq. is the author of all articles and content on this website.

Mr. Franckel is a personal injury lawyer, Founding Partner of 1-800-HURT-911® New York, President of 1-800-HURT-911, Inc., and a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. He has a 10 Avvo Rating, Avvo Client’s Choice Award with all 5-star reviews,  and Avvo Top Contributor. See Mr. Franckel’s bio.

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Philip L. Franckel, Esq. is one of the HURT911® Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York; He has a 10 Avvo rating; Avvo Client’s Choice with all 5-star reviews; Avvo Top Contributor; and a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.

1-800-HURT-911® Founding Partner and Personal Injury Lawyer Rob Plevy, Esq.

Founding Partner Rob Plevy, Esq.

Robert Plevy, Esq. is one of the HURT911® Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York. Rob began his legal career in 1993 as an Assistant Corporation Counsel defending The City of New York against personal injury lawsuits.

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