The charges vary from lawyer to lawyer and from case to case, but are required to be reasonable. If the case will require a lawyer to advance large amounts of money for costs, expend a great deal of time and the case is difficult, the lawyer may charge more than if the case does not require large advances, does not require large amounts of time and there is little risk involved in a trial. In addition, the charges may be greater if you have waited a long time before consulting a lawyer and the statute of limitations is near expiration.
A lawyer may give you the option of choosing an hourly fee arrangement, a flat fee for services or a contingency fee. With an hourly fee you pay a set amount for the time spent working on your case by the lawyer and staff. A flat fee is a onetime charge for handling your case and may be appropriate in cases that are not complicated. A contingency fee may be appropriate when you cannot afford to pay an hourly fee or flat fee. When you agree to a contingency fee, you are agreeing to pay the lawyer a portion of whatever amount of money the lawyer recovers on your behalf. All contingency fee agreements must be in writing, signed by the client and state the method by which the fee is to be determined, including the percentage that will be paid to the lawyer in the event of settlement, trial or appeal. In addition, all contingency fee agreements must state whether litigation and other expenses will also be deducted from the recovery and whether such expenses are deducted before or after the contingent fee is calculated. If any money is recovered, you are also entitled to a written accounting at the conclusion of the case stating the outcome of the case and showing the amount you receive along with an explanation for all other expenses and fees deducted from your recovery.