One of the biggest reasons people don’t hire a car accident lawyer is the cost. Most believe that attorneys cost too much and that they won’t be able to afford a lawyer for their auto accident. The truth is, hiring an attorney is more accessible and more affordable than you thought.
If you recently suffered injuries in a car accident and have been considering hiring a lawyer to help you navigate the complexities of an auto insurance claim, please continue reading below. In this brief lawyer cost guide, we will cover what you need to know about the cost of hiring a lawyer when you should hire one, and who you can speak with for more information.
How Much Does a Car Accident Lawyer Charge?
A lawyer’s fees for their services depend entirely on the attorney and their law firm. Other factors, such as the complexity of your car accident case, affect the cost of your legal services.
Additional factors that affect the cost of your car accident lawyer:
- The anticipated duration of your claim
- How many parties are involved in your case
- The success record of the attorney
- Fees charged by other attorneys in their geographic location
Many car accident lawyers offer free consultations where you can learn more about your legal options. While speaking with the lawyer, don’t be afraid to ask them about their payment schedules.
It is best to speak with a few different lawyers before you decide to sign a contract with one. This is because the legal fee a lawyer charge is not the only factor you should consider when hiring a personal injury lawyer. You should also consider the connection you have with the lawyer and if you feel comfortable with them handling your case.
What Is a Contingency Fee?
Many car accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won’t have to pay anything unless you win your claim. It is important to note that attorneys that offer contingency fee work typically collect 30% to 40% of your settlement check to cover their expenses.
Expenses an attorney pays for your case:
- Expert witness costs
- Preparing for trial (if applicable)
- Copy and postage fees
- Fees for medical records, police reports, and other essential documents
- The cost associated with investigating your auto accident
Most lawyers pay the costs incurred throughout the timeline of handling your claim. Be sure to ask your attorney about their fees and who is responsible for paying for what throughout your case.
You may have to handle some things outside the claim, but that may not be likely. If you pay anything for your case, keep your receipts for the record.
Contingency Fee With a Retainer
Some car accident lawyers provide legal services with a contingency fee and a retainer. This means that you pay the attorney a retainer fee upfront, and they will deduct the rest of their fees from whatever you win in your settlement.
For example, let’s say you hired an attorney with a $3,000 retainer fee with a contingency fee rating of 30%. If the claim goes in your favor and you receive $40,000, your attorney will take $9,000 to cover the remaining balance.
It is important to note that you must keep any additional expenses in mind. As mentioned earlier, your lawyer pays some upfront fees to keep your claim moving along.
Some of these fees can cost upwards of thousands of dollars, so you must speak with your attorney about how to handle these fees. They may include it in their contingency fee basis percentage, whereas others may take additional funds from your settlement.
Hourly fees are uncommon for personal injury claims when the attorney represents the victim of the accident. Attorneys representing auto insurance companies may charge for their services by the hour, but most personal injury lawyers don’t. If you hire an attorney to handle your case, they most likely won’t require you to pay them hourly, and instead, they will take their fees from what you receive from the insurance company.
Flat Rate Fees
Another way lawyers charge their clients is through a flat rate. Again, these are uncommon unless you ask a lawyer to perform a specific service, such as creating a demand letter or writing a contract.
Some clients hire attorneys to create demand letters to send to an insurance company if the claim seems to be minor, but if you believe you have a case, you could benefit from speaking with a lawyer about your legal options.
When you hire a lawyer to handle your claim, it is hard to gauge what to charge as a flat rate because auto claims are complex, especially when trying to figure out a settlement that is best for your situation. Due to many unknown factors, such as, who is at fault, the type of injuries involved, and how long your claim may take, it is best to work with a lawyer on a contingency fee.
Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
The best way to find out if you need a car accident lawyer is to take the time to speak with one about your situation. The lawyer will provide you with your legal options and the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
It is best to speak with an attorney as soon as possible after your accident. This gives your attorney a head start on how to best manage your claim. Your car accident lawyer will take care of everything related to your auto insurance claim, including gathering evidence and communicating with the claims adjuster.
When Should I Hire an Attorney?
As mentioned earlier, you should consider hiring an attorney soon after your accident. Each state has its statutes of limitations that limit when you can submit an injury claim.
In Texas, the statute is two years from the date of injury. This is why it is urgent that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible, so you don’t miss this statute.
It is also urgent that you contact a car accident attorney as soon as you can because you don’t want to lose any evidence. For example, if you have contact information from a witness, they may not be able to recollect the events of what happened if you call them months later.
How To Find the Right Car Accident Lawyer
The best way to find a car accident lawyer for your case is to reach out to family members for referrals. They may be able to give you in-depth insight into the attorney and how the working relationship was before you sign a contract.
It is important to note that not everyone will have the same experience as your friends or family. Don’t hire an attorney based on their recommendations. Pay attention to how you feel when you speak with the attorney and if you don’t feel comfortable with them, seek counsel elsewhere.
Read Their Reviews
If you’re looking for an attorney online, it is best that you read their online reviews to see what other clients say about their service. Again, similar to receiving a recommendation from a family member, please note that what worked for someone may not work for you.
Instead, schedule a consultation to see how you feel in their office and if you’re comfortable with them. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions or concerns you may have about working with them.
Check Their Experience
When you find an attorney you’re interested in, check their experience. Do they have experience handling personal injuries from an auto accident? What is their success rate with cases like yours?
Some personal injury lawyers focus more on slip-and-fall incidents or workers’ compensation claims and not injuries stemming from an auto accident. Be sure to double-check that your lawyer has experience handling claims like yours for the best results.
Help for Car Accident Victims
If you are a car accident victim of a recent auto accident, you could benefit from speaking with a car accident lawyer to learn more about your options in the auto claim. Each lawyer has their way of how they charge for an auto accident, so it is best to speak with an attorney about their payment plans.
Most reputable car accident attorneys offer their services on a contingency fee basis, but that may not be true for some. If you suffered injuries in an auto accident and you want to learn more about your options, contact us. We provide free, no-obligation case evaluations.