Every year in the United States, over 4 million people sustain serious injuries and have to seek treatment.
There’s no doubt road crashes are a daily occurrence in the United States. However, you really never get to experience the harsh reality of how devastating they can be until you’ve been involved in one.
Thankfully, from the fact that you’re looking to hire an auto accident lawyer, you made it out alive. You also believe that another party was at fault for the accident, so they need to compensate you for your injuries and losses.
Hiring an attorney is a smart move, but how much will one cost you?
Continue reading to learn more about the cost of hiring a car accident lawyer
The Standard Fee Industry-Wide
To know how much you will pay for the legal services you’ll receive from an auto accident attorney, you should understand how these lawyers charge for their services.
The vast majority of car accident lawyers, including collision lawyers, charge a contingency fee. This means the fee is contingent on the amount of compensation you’ll receive from their at-fault party or their insurance company.
33 percent is the standard-rate.
So, if your case settles for $100,000, at least $33K will go to your lawyer’s account.
However, just because this is the standard rate doesn’t mean it’s what your lawyer will charge. It can be more or less, depending on many factors—more on this later.
You’re probably wondering, “If the fee is contingent on the outcome of the case, does this mean you won’t pay your lawyer if they don’t win the case?”
That’s right! If you lose the case and as a result don’t get any compensation, there’s no contingency fee to be paid.
That being said, there are other charges you might need to pay upfront. For instance, if the lawyer requires you to pay a consultant charge before evaluating your case, you’ll have to pay up.
Consultation fees can be a fixed amount or an hourly charge. Depending on the lawyer, this can range from $100 to $500 or more.
Others expenses might include court fees and the cost of acquiring medical reports and preparing any other paperwork that might be involved in your case.
The Factors That Will Influence the Contingency Fee
While there are a couple of expenses you’ll have to take care of throughout the duration of the case, the one that matters the most is the contingency fee. It’ll make a big difference in the amount you’ll eventually receive.
As you already know, the standard rate of 33 percent isn’t fixed. Let’s look at the various factors that can swing it either downward or upwards.
Your Case Has to Go to Trial
The vast majority of car accident injury claims are settled out of court, but yours could be among the few that go to trial.
There are a couple of reasons a case like yours can go to trial. Perhaps the party who you’re accusing to be at-fault isn’t admitting liability. They could even be saying you’re liable.
Or the at-fault party doesn’t have adequate liability insurance, so they have to pay the rest out of pocket. However, they might no be willing to pay the balance, which means you’ve to go to court and compel them to pay.
Or the at-fault party’s insurer isn’t willing to settle at the amount you’re claiming.
Either way, if your case has to go to trial, the stakes increase. Your lawyer has to put in more work, including filing court documents, preparing for the case, collecting witness statements, and whatnot. For this, they’ll charge you more, and it’s not uncommon for the contingency fee to climb to 40 percent.
Your Case Is a Routine Settlement
On the other end of the legal scale, we have routine car accident cases. Here, the at-fault party has admitted liability and their insurance company isn’t contesting the claim. In fact, it’s a matter of putting in the paperwork and waiting for the insurer to cut the check.
If your case is like this, your lawyer might be willing to charge you anything from 25 percent. Especially if it’s a slow month for them, they’ll want to offer you an attractive rate so they don’t lose your business.
If you live in a city where the cost of living is super high, expect every service, including legal services, to be high.
This is a no-brainer, really. If you’re pursuing your case in New York City whether the cost of everything is sky-high, your lawyer will naturally charge you a higher contingency fee than if you were pursuing a similar case in a small, rural town like Sewanee in Tennessee.
Your Negotiation Ability
Are you the kind of person who’s always angling for a deal? Do you have the tongue of a salesman?
Your negotiation ability can play a big role in your car accident attorney fees. If they propose 33 percent and you can get them to bring it down to, say 25 percent, you’ll put a couple of thousand dollars more in your pocket when the settlement check comes in.
Some lawyers are also flexible with their rates. They can adjust it depending on how they evaluate the client’s need for the money. In effect, this means you should keep this in mind when choosing a lawyer to represent you.
An Auto Accident Lawyer Will Cost You
So, how much do car accident lawyers charge?
Expect to let go of 33 percent of your settlement money, but there are several factors that can make this rate go higher or lower. Plus, there are other expenses, such as consultation fees, which you’ll pay whether the auto accident lawyer wins the case or not.
All the best and keep reading our blog for more legal tips and insights.