Did you know that the average number of car accidents in the United States is 6 million every year? If you were recently involved in an accident and are now left wondering how much do car accident lawyers charge, you are in the right place.
Keep reading to learn more about what to expect when it comes to the money you will have to pay out of pocket to have someone represent you.
How Much Do Car Accident Lawyers Cost?
Most car accident lawyers do not cost anything upfront. Instead of charging an hourly fee like other lawyers, most will work on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee basis means that they only get paid if you receive any money for your case.
Keep in mind that a minor accident with only a few bruises and dents will more than likely not require an attorney.
One huge benefit is that they will work very hard to make sure you recover some money or else they end up working for free. A win for you means a win for them and if you lose they walk away losing as well.
Another benefit is that you can get help with your case right away because you do not have to pay anything upfront. One last benefit worth mentioning is that from the beginning you and your attorney can work as a team and focus on the best outcome for your case.
Contingency Fee Percentages
Make sure that you ask upfront what their contingency fee percentage is. Most fees fall within a general range between 33.3% to 40% according to the American Bar Association. While this may seem high it is well worth the cost because the settlement that most insurance companies offer is very low and usually not even enough to cover all of the damages.
For cases that require longer mediation, or even a trial they might have higher contingency fees than a simpler case. The percentage will vary based on the following factors:
- The state where the lawyer practices
- If the case is going to trial or not
- How complex your case is
- How long it’s expected to settle
You always want to schedule a consultation and go over every detail of your case before agreeing to hire an attorney. It is very important for both of you to be on the same page and for you to get very clear on the claim and the potential outcome of the case. A reputable place of business such as these attorneys will make sure that you are very clear on their fees as well.
You might come across a few extra fees for your case. These costs might be for expert witness fees, deposition expenses, medical record copies, court costs, transcript copies, and administrative costs. Administrative costs can include postage, trial exhibits, legal research, and copying.
Usually, your attorney will pay for these throughout the case and then will give you a bill at the end of the case where you will reimburse him or her for these with your share of the compensation that they recover.
Going to Trial
When a case has to go to trial it can cost a lot of money because there are more expenses in order to fight for your case. Law firms will typically foot the bill and then subtract them from your recovery money at the end. Other law firms might just swallow the expenses and deduct them from their own share of damages.
Everything depends on their policies and also the laws of the state where the case is being handled. This is why you want to ask any potential attorney during your consultation about how they handle the extra fees if the case were to go to trial.
Some of the expenses associated with going to trial include serving summons, subpoenas, costs to obtain police reports, medical records, court reporter fees, etc.
Some attorneys will ask for an initial retainer on top of the contingency fee. If this is the case, you might want to find a different attorney because it can be a red flag that the firm does not have the resources to take the case all the way through trial.
If you were to agree to a retainer fee because you feel positive about this attorney then normally that initial retainer is added to your settlement check at the end. This means that if you paid a $3,000 retainer in the beginning and your attorney wins your case then they would deduct that $3,000 from their earnings and give it to you.
Flat Fee Agreements
You will rarely come across an attorney that has a flat fee arrangement but sometimes you will find a lawyer that will charge this type of fee if the client only needs a one-time task. For a task like sending a demand letter, you will just have a fee that you will pay and they won’t help with anything else.
Ready to Find a Lawyer for Your Case?
Now that we covered how much car accident lawyers usually cost, you can start shopping around to find the perfect lawyer to represent you and your case. Remember to set up a consultation with a few different attorneys before you settle on one to make sure that you find one that you can really communicate with.
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