Can An Attorney Charge For Travel Time?

I have hired a lawyer to represent me in a lawsuit.   Can she charge me for time she travels while working on my case?

It depends on the fee agreement the two of you entered when she started working for you.  

In personal injury and wrongful death cases, most attorneys work on a contingent fee basis.  If you have a lawyer working on a contingent fee, it would be highly unusual for the agreement to provide that the lawyer is  paid extra for travel time.  Travel expenses are usually provided for in a contingent fee agreement, but travel time is usually part of the contingent fee and no extra charge for traveling is assessed.  (Read this post for information on travel expenses.)

If you hired a lawyer by the hour, it is not unusual for the lawyer to be paid for travel time.  Lawyers who work by the hour are selling not only their knowledge but also their time, and time spent traveling on behalf of a client is time that they cannot be working for another client.


John Day represents personal injury victims and families of wrongful death victims.  He is board-certified as a civil trial specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and, in fact, served as President of the organization. He is an elected member of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers.  His book, "Day on Torts:   Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law," is used by judges and lawyers across Tennessee to further their understanding of personal injury and wrongful death law in Tennessee.  In 2009, Best Lawyers named John "Best Personal Injury Lawyer" for Nashville; he was the first recipient of that award. Best Lawyers also  named John as "Best Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Nashville" for 2010.   John does not charge for an initial consultation and accepts personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingent  fee basis.  You can reach him by telephone at 615.742.4880 or by email by clicking here.

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