Legal Fees and Costs After Accidents
Posted in Car Accidents on September 26, 2017
When you hear “car accident lawsuit,” your mind may jump to dollar signs – and not in a good way. Court claims and legal processes can be expensive. Personal injury attorneys aren’t free, but their services can be priceless. Retaining a car wreck lawyer in Atlanta can maximize your chances and amount of compensation for medical costs, pain and suffering, property damage, and other harms after a car accident. Working with the right attorney can make a big difference in how much you recover.
Contingency Fee Arrangements
After a car accident, the last thing you may want to think about is spending more money on top of dealing with medical bills and property damage. For many victims, this isn’t just an inconvenience – it’s an impossibility; that’s why most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee arrangement is one in which the client will only pay the costs of litigation and attorney’s fees if the attorney wins the case. No settlement, no payment. This way, car accident victims who cannot afford to retain an attorney aren’t denied the opportunity to pursue their legal rights.
In a contingency arrangement, the car accident lawyer will offer to represent a client as long as the client agrees to give the attorney a fixed percentage of the recovery, or the amount the defendant will pay the client in a successful claim. This percentage will vary from firm to firm, but typically hovers around one-third (33.33%) of the total recovery. If you win, you’ll pay the attorney his or her portion. If you lose, you don’t pay the attorney anything. Keep in mind, however, that you may still have to pay court and filling fees, even if you lose.
The contingency fee percentage may depend on the stage of your case; for example, whether or not the defendant has responded to your legal complaint yet. If the attorney settles the case before the defendant answers your complaint in court, the percentage is typically lower. Review any attorney contract carefully before signing. Make sure you know of all fees and related costs that come with retaining the lawyer. Your personal injury attorney should be open and frank about explaining it to you. You always have the option of trying to negotiate a different fee agreement.
Other Fees and Costs
When considering the costs vs. value of a car accident claim, don’t just look at the cost of the attorney. Factor in the expenses that come with any court case. In a car accident lawsuit, these may include the price of court filings, hiring expert witnesses, postage, court reporters, and obtaining records. These fees can add up to thousands of dollars depending on the case. Some attorneys may cover these expenses up front, and then deduct them as part of their fees upon winning a settlement.
Not all attorneys operate on contingency. Some offer hourly options or flat rates. On average, hourly attorneys can charge from $100 to $500 or more per hour. Flat fees can very depending on the agreed upon amount of work. Some attorneys require a retainer, or an initial fee for services, on top of contingency agreements. Note that contingency fee basis is the most prevalent type of arrangement in car accident plaintiff cases.
When deciding whether retaining an attorney is right for you, consider how much a lawyer could get for your case versus how much you might get through self-representation. The former will be much greater in the majority of cases. Don’t let the cost of an attorney deter you from pursuing compensation. You deserve to fight for recovery with an attorney’s representation.