How much a lawyer may charge for accident claims will vary depending on several factors, including the type of fee structure used by the lawyer. If they work based on contingency fees, they may take between 33% and 40% of your final settlement or award as payment for their legal services.
Lawyers may employ other fee structures, however. It is important to understand how a lawyer charges for their services before hiring them for your case.
Types of Fees Used by Personal Injury Attorneys
Accident claims typically fall within the realm of injury law, and injury lawyers have several common methods of charging for their services. Be sure to ask a prospective law firm if they use one or more of the following fee arrangements:
Most injury lawyers work based on contingency. With these fee arrangements, the lawyer will only charge for their services upon the successful completion of the case. This means several things for an accident claimant:
- No upfront fees are typically required to begin a case.
- Fees are assessed as a percentage of the final settlement or award.
- If the claimant does not win their case, they don’t have to pay the lawyer.
- The accident victim will not need to finance a case out of their own savings.
As mentioned above, this percentage-based rate will typically range between 33% to 40% of a final settlement or award. So, if you hire a lawyer that takes 35% of any winnings you receive and you get a $50,000 settlement, your lawyer will receive $17,500. In this scenario, you would ultimately receive a total of $32,500.
The percentage rate that a lawyer charges will depend on several factors, including the lawyer’s experience and history of success with cases like yours.
Some lawyers charge based on an hourly rate structure. With such an arrangement, your ultimate fees will vary depending on:
- The hourly amount charged by the lawyer
- The length of time your case takes
- Any other incidental fees incurred during your case
You should ask a lawyer how long they expect your case may take and request an estimate of the total potential fees involved.
In addition, the lawyer may assess fees for court costs, filing fees, costs related to evidence gathering, and more. Again, it’s important to understand what these fees might be before hiring a lawyer
A retainer is an upfront fee required by a lawyer at the outset of a case. These funds are deposited into an account and are withdrawn as the lawyer completes work on your case. Not all lawyers require a retainer.
When an accident lawyer charges a retainer, they may also assess a contingency fee. However, the retainer should be subtracted from the contingency fees you owe.
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The Benefits of Contingency Fee Agreements
Many personal injury attorneys work based on contingency fees because of their many benefits, including:
- Injury victims struggling with the financial challenges of an accident have a means of seeking legal representation.
- The goals of the client and the lawyer are aligned.
- The lawyer is motivated to seek the best possible settlement.
- The lawyer can begin working immediately without charging upfront costs.
Essentially, contingency fees enable accident victims to be free of the financial risk involved in an injury case. Legal recourse is available even for victims who cannot afford to pay for a lawyer out of their savings.
While you may be tempted to seek out the lawyer with the lowest contingency fees, keep in mind that there are many reasons why a lawyer charges their asking rate. If a lawyer charges more because of their experience with your case type, you may be paying more in contingency fees, but you could also receive a higher-than-average settlement or award due to the lawyer’s skill.
Should I Work With a Personal Injury Lawyer?
The law does not require you to hire a lawyer for an accident case. However, you may find a lawyer’s help beneficial for several reasons:
- Even simple cases can be complicated. Even when liability in an accident case is clear, the liable party’s insurer may dispute the basic facts of your personal injury claim. For instance, they may claim that your injuries were not as serious as you say. When this happens, a lawyer will be able to counter unfair claims.
- Meeting important deadlines can be crucial. Many states, including Georgia, have statutes of limitations restricting the time you have to file a lawsuit. Even though your case may not go to trial, if you miss this deadline, the insurance company could use this as a reason to deny your claim.
- A lawyer knows how to seek fair compensation. A personal injury lawyer’s main job is to go after the best possible compensation for accident victims, and they have experience doing it. They’ve had the negotiations, gathered evidence, and written demand letters to seek the settlements claimants deserve. They know how to use that experience for you.
- If you have serious injuries, you will want nothing less than a fair settlement. Medical bills can mount when you suffer serious injuries. This is when a personal injury attorney’s help can be especially invaluable. An insurance company could make you a low initial offer, but a lawyer can work to show just how costly your injuries truly are. If they seek the settlement you deserve, you won’t have to pay for additional costs for medical care later on. If the insurer refuses fair compensation, your lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit and seek a verdict.
Learn More About How Much Lawyers Charge During a Free Case Review
When you’re thinking about hiring a lawyer, you should also know that many injury lawyers offer free initial consultations.
During this free call, you can get answers to any questions you have about your case, the legal process, and what forms of compensation you could seek. You can also learn more about the law firm’s fee structure.
Consider asking questions such as:
- What is your contingency fee rate?
- Why does your firm charge this percentage amount?
- Do you also require a retainer in addition to contingency fees?
- Will any retainers be subtracted from the contingency-fee payment?
- What other fees could be involved as my case progresses?
- What is your experience with cases like mine?
You should feel comfortable with the personal injury lawyer you decide to hire, so it’s worth it to do your research.
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Call Kaine Law to Learn How We Can Help With Your Accident Claim
You may be worried about medical expenses piling up after an accident. The thought of paying for legal services may deter you from seeking representation, but you should know that you have options. Our lawyers can take your case on a contingency basis so that you pay no money upfront to start your case.
Our team is standing by to take your call. We are happy to explain what legal representation on a contingency fee basis would mean for you. We can help you after a car accident or another type of injury accident, such as a motorcycle or pedestrian accident. Call us today for a free consultation.