If you suffer a serious injury in a car accident caused by another party, you are likely focused on your recovery and medical treatment. At this point, you may not know when or if you can return to work. Chances are medical costs may be stacking up, and you could be falling behind on your bills, vehicle payments, and mortgage.
You may think that hiring a car accident lawyer during this difficult time is the last thing you can think about. However, the process is much easier than you think. When you hire a personal injury lawyer to help you handle the costs and case, you have someone fighting for your rights while you focus on your recovery.
Also, hiring an auto accident and injury lawyer means that you don’t have to worry about paying anything upfront.
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Understanding the Contingency Fee
Today, most personal injury and car accident lawyers charge clients on a contingency fee basis. What this means is that you can hire an attorney to represent your case without having to pay anything upfront.
An auto injury attorney will only receive payment for their legal services if the client receives compensation. At this point, the lawyer will receive a percentage of the total award that the client receives. They will also be paid for any fees or expenses related to pursuing the personal injury case. The client receives the remainder of the settlement.
Most car accident lawyers have slogans that read something along the lines of – we don’t get paid unless you do. While this is the case because if no money is received the customer doesn’t have to pay any fees. However, there are situations where the law firm will charge a customer court costs or other costs in unsuccessful cases. As a client, it is good to find out about the specific fees an attorney upfront will charge you.
Remember, the individual who caused your injuries will likely have their insurance company working to minimize the compensation you receive. After all, insurance companies are for-profit businesses, which means they want to pay as little as possible for the claim being made. Your car accident attorney will work to ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation for your accident claim.
What Are the Typical Contingency Fees Charged by Attorneys?
Put simply, car accident contingency fees will range between 33% and 45% of the compensation you receive. This means that if you receive $1,000,000 as a settlement for our accident claim, you will (in the end) receive a check that ranges from $670,000 to $550,000.
Keep in mind though, that the contingency fees charged by attorneys will vary from one firm and one attorney to another. They also fluctuate based on the details of your case. As a potential client, you can also negotiate the percentage that works for you or set up some type of alternate agreement. While this is true, in most personal injury and car accident cases, the lawyer you hire will receive 33% of the total settlement you receive.
In some situations, the contingency fee percentage that is paid to the attorney will be determined by whether or not the claim has merit. This is going to vary based on the amount of time it takes for the case to conclude. Some people refer to this as a “sliding scale.” In these situations, the contingency fee may increase based on “tiers.” In these cases, the following “rules” will likely apply:
- If a case is concluded quickly and a settlement is agreed on before the formal complaint is filed with the court, the attorney can receive a “first tier” percentage. This is usually 33%; however, there are some situations where the situation results in a lower percentage. If the case requires a formal complaint to be filed in court, then the fee percentage the attorney receives will be increased.
- In a case that does not achieve a resolution and that goes to trial, the fees collected by the attorney will increase significantly. What this means is if your case requires that your lawyer spend even more time on the case and that they take it to trial, then the fee they receive will increase from the first-tier amount. Usually, this will go up somewhere between the initial 33% up to the higher end, which is 40%.
Even though the fee that a car accident attorney takes may seem high, you must remember your lawyer is taking a risk when they accept your case. When you decide to hire a car accident attorney on a contingency fee basis, you will only have to pay once your case has concluded successfully.
Is It a Good Idea to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer on a Contingency Fee Basis?
Deciding if you should hire an attorney on an hourly or contingency fee basis depends on your circumstances. If you can’t pay anything upfront, then the contingency fee arrangement will likely be the best option you have. However, this agreement may also be best even if you could afford an hourly rate. That’s because most cases require a lot of energy, resources, and time that will wind up costing you more in the long run.
No matter your financial situation, one of the most important things that you can do after being involved in a car accident is to hire an experienced attorney. By doing this, you can feel confident that you will have the best chance of recovering the maximum amount of compensation possible for your claim.
In fact, research has proven that personal injury victims who have legal representation receive more money for their claim when they are represented by a qualified attorney rather than trying to handle the situation on their own.
Your Rights and Recovering Compensation
If you are harmed because of someone else’s indiscretion or carelessness, you have the right to be paid for the harm you endured. The damages you can recover vary based on your situation but typically involve payment for medical costs, pain and suffering, loss of future earning capacity, property damage, and lost wages.
Don’t Wait to Secure Legal Representation
You may be waiting to hire a car accident attorney to help with your situation due to the financial aspect of this. However, waiting too long can cost you more than you realize.
One of the main hurdles that you face when pursuing legal compensation is the statute of limitations. This is the legal amount of time you have to file a claim against another party to recover damages. If you don’t file within this time limit, then it may cost you in several ways, including making it impossible for you ever to file a claim or receive compensation for your losses.
When you hire an attorney to help with your legal situation right away, you can avoid this issue. You will also have confidence that you have someone working on your behalf to protect your rights and help you recover the maximum amount of compensation possible for your losses and injuries.
Fighting the Insurance Companies
Even if you are involved in a car accident but don’t suffer injuries, it’s a good idea to have a car accident attorney handle your case from the beginning. They can also advocate for the insurance companies for you.
As mentioned above, the role of insurance companies is to reduce the payment you receive as much as possible. This helps to increase profits for the company’s shareholders. As a result, the adjuster assigned to your case will try anything possible to keep the company from being considered liable or having to pay you damages.
When you hire a car accident lawyer for help with your situation, they will file the claim on your behalf and help “level the playing field.” It also allows you to pursue the damages you deserve as a victim of someone else’s negligence. The attorney may even be able to help you recover damages that you aren’t aware you are owed.
The Top Reasons to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer for Help with Your Case
If you are involved in a car accident, you may be hesitant to hire an attorney. However, as you can see from the information above, the cost of these legal services shouldn’t factor into your hesitation.
Also, there are more than a few reasons that you should hire this legal professional. Keep reading to learn what they are.
Handle the Accident Investigation
The attorney you hire will conduct an independent and comprehensive investigation into why the crash happened and who is at fault. Your attorney will work to determine all possible sources of recovery and any insurance coverage related to the accident.
Collect Related Evidence
The car accident attorney you hire will also work to ensure that all evidence is submitted to the insurance company right away. Adequate evidence is needed to show why the accident occurred and why it was caused by someone else.
File All Documents and Forms Properly
In some situations, the adjuster who is assigned to your case will request that you fill out and return some documents and forms. Some believe that this is something required and that they must complete and sign all the forms they are given. However, this isn’t always the case. There are some situations where you do not have to sign anything that is given to you by the insurance company. The attorney you hire to help with the car accident claim will ensure that you don’t sign anything you shouldn’t.
Negotiate on Your Behalf
Some insurers are going to try to take advantage of individuals if they do not have legal representation. If you fail to hire an attorney, the adjuster may try to take advantage of this by offering you a settlement that is significantly lower than what you deserve. Your lawyer will work to ensure that this doesn’t happen and aggressively work to ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation you deserve for your accident and injuries.
Represent You in Court
While most car accident cases are settled outside of court, there are exceptions. Suppose your case happens to go to trial. In that case, your attorney will file a lawsuit by the specified deadline, collect related evidence, schedule the needed mediations or depositions, and work with the attorney for the other party. You can feel confident that the car accident attorney you hire will be ready to fight for your rights to compensation in the courtroom.
What Is the Value of Your Car Accident Claim?
Each car accident case is unique. Because of this, the value of your case will vary based on several factors. These factors include:
- How severe are your injuries are
- The evidence available in the case
- Treatment type and duration
- The auto policy liability limit of the at-fault driver
- The total cost of the accident
- Permanent disfigurement or disability caused by your injuries
You Can Afford A Car Accident Attorney
Hiring an attorney to help with your car accident claim is smart. Also, you don’t have to worry about paying anything upfront if they work on a contingency fee basis.