How Do Most Attorneys Charge for Car Accident Cases?
Getting into an accident and dealing with the aftermath can be a stressful and emotional time for all individuals affected. You may have suffered severe bodily injured, lost a loved one, been unable to work, and have to worry about endless medical and hospital bills. Adding the time, costs, and stress of a lawsuit can make this experience ever more traumatic. But sometimes a lawsuit is inevitable or necessary—either because you have been sued due to the car accident or because you believe it is in your best interests to initiate the suit on your own to recover compensation for your injuries. Either way, the most responsible thing to do right away is to secure the legal counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney can advise you on the strength of your case, help you file the complaint, negotiate settlements on your behalf, and even litigate your case before the judge or jury to defend you against liability and fight for the maximum compensation award. However, many individuals often wonder how attorneys charge their clients for car accident cases. This blog post will explain the common fee arrangements that personal injury attorneys use with respect to car accident cases.
Before considering howmost personal injury attorneys charge their clients for car accident claims, it is important to hire an attorney who has experience dealing with personal injury matters. This will ensure that you have the best chance of securing the maximum compensation amount for your injuries—including both economic and non-economic damages. Most personal injury attorneys operate on a “contingency fee” basis with respect to car accident claims and not on an hourly basis. A contingency fee arrangement means that the attorney will not get paid unless you win your case and recover money. If you do win and recover money, the attorney will receive a percentage of your recovery—whether that settlement comes from a jury verdict or settlement negotiation with your insurance company. The percentage of the contingency fee varies depending on the experience of the attorney, location of the law firm, and complexity of the case. However, most contingency fees range from 20% to 40%. Contingency fees are preferred by individuals because it basically means that they will not owe anything to their personal injury attorney unless their case is won, and they recover money. Thus, the attorney is not paid unless and until their client recovers money either from a settlement with the insurance company or the amount awarded by the judge or jury in court.
Another type of fee arrangement is working on a flat fee basis or collecting a retainer at the beginning of the engagement. These fee arrangements are rare for personal injury claims such as car accident cases but nonetheless can sometimes occur. Flat fee arrangements will charge a client a certain amount for the service to be performed within a certain time frame. A retainer arrangement is where the attorney requires that the client pay a certain amount of money upfront before beginning any legal services. With retainers, a contingency fee is also typically sought if the client’s case is successful, though a deduction is made to account for the retainer. But again, these types of arrangements for personal injury claims such as car accident cases are rare.
It is important to always speak to your attorney first about how they charge and what the contingency fee will be—if it is used. Ask your attorney questions regarding their legal services and their plans to charge you. It is in your benefit to fully understand how the attorney will operate. An attorney can advise you on the stages of your case, prepare your case for settlement negotiations with your insurance company or litigation at trial before the judge or jury, and will fight for the maximum monetary amount for you. Overall, an experienced personal injury attorney will be able to secure the compensation you need to recover and get back to your life.