What Are the Costs of Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer?
All personal injury attorneys, and this covers car accident lawyers, may charge clients either a per-hour rate or a contingency fee, the latter being the more common practice.
A contingency fee is the sum you pay a car accident attorney once your case is successful and you have received compensation for your injuries. No compensation means no payment of legal fees.
Contingency fees are often determined as a percentage of the total sum you will receive after a settlement or court verdict. In some cases, lawyers will take a portion of the gross award (before expenses are removed), while in others, they will take a part of the net award (after expenses are removed). Percentages are different from region to region, and you might be able to work out a lower percentage rate with your car accident lawyer. Any negotiations must close before you sign a contract.
Additionally, if you win money, you’ll also have to reimburse your attorney for any costs incurred while working on your case (copying fees, filing fees, etc.). In most cases, lawyers working on contingency will not charge you for such expenses if they fail to settle or win your case.
The good thing about contingency fee arrangements is that you don’t owe the attorney anything if you do not receive any compensation. Considering that both you will gain financially from this case, they will likely be driven as well to get you the largest judgment or settlement possible. This is actually the reason car accident lawyers will beg off from cases that they think are not winnable. If they take a case that is weak and they agree to a contingency arrangement, they will not take the risk.
In some cases, attorneys will take a car accident case and get paid hourly. This means your attorney will be paid for every hour they work on your claim, no matter if you get compensated by the party responsible for your car accident. Whether you lose a case in court or failed to settle amicably with the other party or their insurance company, you pay your lawyer.
It’s true that contingency arrangements are the more common practice when it comes to car accident cases, but per-hour billing is hardly uncommon. And usually, if an attorney wants to charge you per hour, they would have assessed your case as weak. You’ll likely have to think twice about hiring a lawyer or just accepting the insurance company’s settlement offer. Of course, at the end of the day, whether you pay hourly or on contingency, your first step is to find the right lawyer for you.