What is the Cost of Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer?

Cost of Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer
What Is the Cost of Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer?
August 14th, 2020

If you were recently in a car accident, then it is highly likely that you might be looking for a lawyer. Irrespective of whether you were at fault or the victim, you will require a car accident lawyer to protect your interests. But the main question that you may ask yourself is how much will it cost? To help you better understand what factors influence car accident lawyers’ fees, we have analyzed different charging methods adopted by legal professionals. The charging model can be classified based on your role in a car accident.

Contingency Fee Model for a Plaintiff

If you are filing the case and claiming to be at the receiving end of the accident, the lawyers will charge you on the contingency fee model. In a contingency fee case, the lawyer or law firm will not be paid anything until a settlement is reached out of court or after a jury’s verdict. Then, according to the model, the car accident lawyer will be paid a percentage of the money they help you recover from the defendant. Before beginning the procedure, you will have to sign an agreement with the attorney, which will outline the terms and conditions of their work, including the percentage of the share they expect as fees. Typically, the percentage expected as contingency fees lies in the range of 25-40 percent but can vary based on the region and experience of the lawyer hired. However, charging clients 33% or one-third of the compensation received is considered a standard in the industry. So, if you agree to pay your lawyer 33% of the total compensation you receive, they will get USD $33,000 as fees bringing your total compensation down to USD $67,000.

How much does car accident lawyer cost?

Factors that Influence Contingency Fee Percentage

Here are the factors that impact contingency fee percentage:

  1. Personal Injury Lawsuit: If a personal injury lawsuit has been filed against the defendant, the attorney may ask for a more than 33% contingency fee share.
  2. Claim Settlement: If a settlement is reached before going to the court, the contingency fee percentage charged may be lower. However, if the case reaches a settlement through a jury’s verdict, the contingency fee percentage can increase and typically goes up to 40%. In this scenario, you will receive only USD $60,000 as compensation, and the car accident lawyer’s fees will amount to USD $40,000.

The best course of action is to thoroughly discuss the case with the attorney and negotiate the contingency fee percentage. If the case is clearly in your favor with all the evidence pointing against the defendant and the latter’s insurer ready to pay the compensation you demand, then it is advised that you negotiate a low contingency fee percentage.

Litigation Costs and Expenses

Depending on the scenario, you will be liable to pay additional litigation and expenses. These are charged for the following reasons:

  1. Filing of cases
  2. Process servers
  3. Witnesses
  4. Mailing and postage
  5. Court reporting
  6. Procuring records such as police records, medical reports, data accesses, etc.

Litigation expenses range from USD $10,000 to USD $20,000. Lawyers or law firms will either ask you to pay the amount as and when due or deduct the total from the compensation you receive. In the second scenario, you should ensure that the lawyer’s fee is calculated from the “net settlement amount,” which is the total remaining after deducting litigation costs. Although this is the typical arrangement followed by lawyers, some attorneys or law firms try to increase their pay by charging the clients on the total compensation received.

Retainer with Contingency Fee Model

In this model, the car accident lawyer will ask you to make an initial deposit and will charge you on the contingency fee model when a settlement is reached. When a settlement is reached, the amount initially deposited is subtracted from the contingency fees due to be given to the attorney. For instance, the car accident lawyer asks you to deposit USD$ 2000 as a retainer before the case proceedings begin. If the case gets you USD $100,000 as compensation and the contingency fees percentage is 33%, the lawyer will recover USD $31,000 (USD $33,000-USD $2,000).

Flat Fee Model

If you are fighting a straightforward case wherein you do not require to file a lawsuit or go to court, then lawyers will generally charge you based on the flat fee model. However, when legal representation and assistance are restricted to drafting a demand letter, attorneys generally charge a one-time fee which varies between USD$ 300 to USD$ 1000.

Hourly Model for Defendant

If unfortunately, you were involved in a car accident and a compensation claim has been filed against you, then you may require legal assistance to keep your liability to a minimum or prove yourself innocent. In such instances, car liability insurance comes in handy as most policies are designed to pay for your lawyers. However, in case you do not have liability insurance or its limit has been reached, then car accident lawyers or firms will charge you USD $100 – USD $500 per hour based on your location and their experience.

Is Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer Worth It?

If the accident has not caused extensive damage and has only resulted in minor injuries, then you can negotiate a settlement with the other party on your own. However, if severe injuries, deaths, and multiple parties are involved in the accident, then you should consult a lawyer. Read here when it is necessary to hire car accident lawyers and how to find them.

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