Car accidents are responsible for between 20 and 50 million injuries each year. Are you currently dealing with an injury after being in an accident? Are you thinking about hiring a lawyer to help you with your case?
If you’re researching lawyers for auto accidents, chances are you’re also wondering how much they charge for their services. It can be hard to know upfront exactly how much you’ll have to pay for legal assistance. If you read on, though, you can learn more about the factors that influence your lawyers’ fees so you can estimate the cost for yourself.
It’s most common for auto accident lawyers to work on a contingency basis. This means that they don’t get paid for their services unless you win your case. If you win, they receive a percentage of the payout from the insurance company.
The percentage that lawyers charge for their services will vary. In general, though, it ranges from 25 percent to 40 percent. If you received a $100,000 payout, for example, you would have to pay the lawyer $25,000 after the case was closed.
Your contingency fee percentage is often lower if the case can be settled out of court. If you have to file a lawsuit and go to trial, though, that’s going to require a lot more work on the lawyer’s part. As a result, they’ll need more money and will likely ask for a larger contingency fee percentage (closer to the 40 percent end of the spectrum).
In some cases, you’ll also be responsible for covering certain upfront court fees and litigation expenses. These fees include things like the cost of getting copies of your medical records, fees for the court reporter, and fees for expert witnesses.
Your contract will specify whether the lawyer expects you to cover these fees. If you don’t pay them, your case won’t proceed until you follow through with your end of the deal.
When you’re working with a larger law firm, it’s common for the firm to cover the cost of the fees and expenses related to your case. This might seem like a good thing at first, as it saves you from having to shell out a lot of money that you might not have readily available. Remember, though, that these fees will then get deducted from your settlement.
For example, if you receive a $100,000 settlement and the firm spent $10,000 in fees related to your case, they’ll deduct that money from the final payout (along with the cost of the lawyer’s services).
Alternative Fee Arrangements
Some auto accident lawyers do not work on a contingency basis. Instead, they may charge you a retainer for their services and then collect a contingency fee once the case is settled.
Once you receive your settlement, you’ll be able to subtract the retainer from the lawyer’s fees. For example, if you paid a $2,000 retainer, agreed to a 25 percent contingency fee percentage, and received a $100,000 settlement, you would pay the lawyer $23,000 instead of $25,000.
Some lawyers also charge flat fees for one-time services. If you just wanted help from a lawyer to draft a demand letter, for example, they might charge a fee of $500 to ensure they get compensated fairly for their time without making you agree to a long-term contract.
Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer
At this point, you might be wondering whether or not it’s actually worth it for you to hire a lawyer. You might assume that it’s easier (and less expensive) for you to deal with the insurance company on your own, get your payout, and be on your way.
In some cases, this might be true. If you’ve been injured, though, or are having trouble with the insurance company, having a lawyer on your side can be very helpful. The following are some of the specific benefits an auto accident lawyer can provide you:
- Show the insurance company that you mean business and expect a fair payout
- Provide guidance as you go through the claims filing process to ensure you don’t make any mistakes
- Advocate for you and represent you in court (if necessary) so you don’t have to face down the insurance company alone
- Help you carry the burden so you can focus on recovering from your injuries and getting back to normal life
If any of these advantages sound appealing, it’s likely worth it for you to make arrangements to work with a lawyer. It might take a little longer to wrap up your case, but your settlement will likely be much higher as a result.
Schedule a Consultation First
When you’re getting ready to hire an auto accident lawyer, it’s imperative that you schedule a consultation first. Many lawyers offer free consultations in-person or over the phone. This gives you a chance to get to know them and give them the details of your case before investing int heir services.
During the consultation, be sure to ask about the lawyer’s fee arrangement. How do they charge, what do they charge, and when do they expect their first payment?
Keep this information in mind and meet with a few different lawyers so you can compare and contrast and decide which one seems like the best fit to help you with your case. Of course, their fees aren’t the only thing that should factor into your decision. They’re a big component, though, and not something to take lightly.
Start Looking for Lawyers for Auto Accidents Today
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into determining the cost of hiring lawyers for auto accidents. Now that you have the information available, hopefully, you can feel more confident sitting down for a consultation with a car accident lawyer. You know more about what they charge and how they determine their fees, so you’ll be less likely to feel overwhelmed or confused.
Do you need more advice on what to do after being involved in a car accident? Whether you have questions about getting your car fixed or dealing with injuries, we’ve got lots of resources available on our site. Give them a read today.