If you find yourself in need of legal representation, you may be worried about the cost. Most lawyers will meet with you free of charge for a consultation. During this meeting, the attorney will get an understanding of your situation and be able to give you an estimate of what it will cost you for the help he or she provides. However, it is not always an accurate portrayal of what you will end up paying after the situation is handled. Here are a few things you should ask when going over the estimate:
What does the Estimate Cover?
Many times, the estimate will be only for the fees the lawyer charges for his or her time. However, there is almost always other fees in a legal case. You may have to pay for any costs to the court for filing documents and then pay for any time as assistant works on your case. In addition, you will probably have to pay for copies made of your filings and documents and for any postal charges should something need to be mailed. All these fees can add a large amount to what the attorney charges.
Be sure to ask the attorney when he or she expects to be paid. Can you make payments once the issue is settled or will you need to start making them immediately? If a settlement of any type is involved will he or she accept a percentage of it as payment and if so what percent. You should also find out if there is any resource available to help with the costs. Finally, be sure to find out what happens if you are late with a payment.
What Happens if The Estimate is Wrong?
Since the estimate is based on how much time the lawyer will need to spend on your case, you need to find out what happens if things are more complicated than initially anticipated. If the attorney needs to spend more time on the case, how soon before doing so will you be informed? What if you do not want to pay extra? How can you make other arrangements for paying for this? You also need to ask what happens if everything goes faster than what was anticipated. Will the final bill be less than the estimate?
The initial consultation with your lawyer should not be something quick. He or she needs to understand what kind of help you need and you need to understand how the lawyer will help and what the help will cost you. As you go over the estimate, be sure that you both understand exactly what each of you expects.
Contact a law office like McKone & Unruh for more information and assistance.