What Are the Costs of Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer?
All personal injury lawyers, and this includes car accident attorneys, may charge clients hourly billing rates or on contingency basis, the latter being the predominant practice.
A contingency fee is what you pay a car accident lawyer when your case is successful and you receive compensation from the defendant. If you get no compensation, then you pay no legal fees.
Contingency fees are typically based on a percentage of the total amount you get from a judgment or settlement. 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 not the same for all regions, and you may be able to negotiate for a smaller percentage rate with your car accident attorney. All negotiations, if any, must take place prior to contract signing.
If you receive money, you’ll also be responsible for refunding your attorney’s costs while working on your case (for example, copying fees, filing fees and the like). 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. As you both will benefit financially, you can be sure that they will also be motivated to get you the best possible judgment or settlement. This is actually the reason car accident lawyers will beg off from cases that they think are not winnable. Accepting a weak case and getting paid on contingency arrangement means risking losses on their part.
Sometimes, lawyers will offer to work on a car accident case for a per-hour fee. 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.
Although contingency arrangements are more commonly practiced by car accident attorneys, hourly billing is not that rare either. And typically, if an attorney takes a case for hourly billing, it’s because they think it is weak. You might want to think twice about hiring an attorney for your car accident claim, or if you should just be happy with the insurance company’s settlement proposal. 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.