If you were hurt in a car accident, you have made a smart decision if you decided to retain an experienced car accident attorney instead of trying to represent yourself. In picking an attorney, you want to be certain that he is experienced in handling these types of cases, has a good success rate, and investigates his cases thoroughly. Another important consideration—but not the only one—in your decision should be how much he will charge to represent you.
How Do Attorneys Charge in Car Accident Cases?
Just like when you hire a contractor or other professional, you want to be certain that you understand how much you will have to pay in your car accident case. Attorneys usually charge clients in one of these ways:
- Contingency fee. This is probably the most common fee arrangement. The attorney charges a percentage of the settlement award or amount awarded at trial—ranging from 25 to 40 percent of the settlement amount—as his attorney fees. This fee is paid directly out of your settlement proceeds before you receive your check. If your attorney is unable to settle your case, you do not owe any attorney fees.
- Contingency fee plus retainer. Some attorneys will utilize a contingency fee payment schedule, but also require you to pay a retainer at the start of your case. This amount is deducted from the percentage owed once your case is resolved.
- Hourly rate. While rarer, some attorneys will charge an hourly rate for their assistance in your case. If your attorney charges this, you want to be certain that you understand how many hours he plans to spend on your case so you are not surprised by the attorneys’ fees you owe.
In addition to owing attorney fees, you could owe costs associated with your case. These can include expenses such as:
- Court fees for filing your lawsuit and any motions that are needed
- Service of process fees to personally serve the negligent driver with your lawsuit
- Discovery fees, such as to obtain your medical records and a copy of the police report
- Expert witness fees for medical professionals, accident reconstruction experts, vocational experts, and economic experts that could help prove disputed issues in your case
You may be responsible for paying these fees up front or the attorney could advance these costs and deduct them from your settlement. You want to be certain you know how these costs will be charged and the approximate expenses you can expect.
While hiring an attorney may seem expensive, it can be well worth it if you retain a good attorney who can increase the likelihood that you will receive a fair settlement. If you or a family member was injured in a car crash, fill out our firm’s online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.