An accident lawyer plays an instrumental role in your accident claim. In addition to offering legal guidance, he or she will also communicate with the other driver’s insurance company, gather evidence to help with your case, organize your medical bills and record and present evidence to prove damages and liability. Your lawyer will also communicate with your doctors to get missing records and work with them to ensure they offer medical information you require to prove damages in your case. Without a lawyer, it is easy for the insurance company to want to pay you less or refuse to pay altogether, claiming you were equally at fault.
So, unless you are dealing with a tiny case and are comfortable collecting documents and evidence yourself and negotiating the settlement, then it’s best to bring in an attorney to help out, it’s also a good idea to get a lawyer from a local car accident law firm because of their familiarity with the area as well as the law enforcement officers. That said, the question now becomes, how do accident lawyers charge their fee?
To answer this question, we will look at the different types of fees
Contingency fee basis
Different elements go into finding the right lawyer for you, but the price may not be as essential as many would like to imagine. This is because a majority of car accident lawyers work under a “contingency fee” agreement. In this arrangement, the lawyer is not paid until he or she obtains some financial compensation for the client – which is you in this case. When you pay the lawyer, it is often some fraction of the total amount you recover from the lawsuit – and may range between 20 and 40%.
With a contingency fee, the idea is that you only pay if you win. But you need to understand your agreement and establish whether you will take care of “costs” associated with your case – which includes things like expert witness fees, filing fees, cost of photocopying, etc. in most contingency agreements, the lawyer will absorb costs, but deduct it from the court award or settlement in addition to the agreed-upon contingency percentage. The one great thing about this agreement is that you won’t need to pay a dime in case your case fails to succeed.
The hourly rate
The hourly rate option is another standard payment method. However, it is rarely used in accident cases. In this agreement, the lawyer gets the agreed amount for every hour of work irrespective of whether you win the case or not.
This is a bend of retainer and contingency fee – where you pay the lawyer a retainer at the beginning of the case, and a contingency fee once you win. A retainer is more of like an advance payment and can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand.
Don’t shy away from discussing fees with your lawyer
Discussing money can be an uncomfortable subject, but it’s the best way to understand what both parties expect. It is also an excellent opportunity to know how well how the attorney will treat you.