You should contact a car accident lawyer if you’ve been in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence.
Most car accident lawyers charge a contingency fee to take on an injury case. A contingency fee means your lawyer only gets paid if you recover money. If you receive money in a settlement, your lawyer will get paid a certain percentage of the settlement.
This article takes a closer look at how contingency fees work. It will show you what to expect if you hire a lawyer to handle your car accident case.
What is a Contingency Fee?
A contingency fee arrangement starts with an attorney agreeing to represent a client. This agreement is paired with the understanding that the attorney only collects a fee if the client wins the case.
That means their client has to receive a car accident settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If that is not possible, they can also get a court judgment in their favor after a car accident lawsuit.
The attorney’s fee is contingent upon a successful outcome of their case.
The Contingency Percentage
The contingency fee that a personal injury lawyer receives varies, but typically ranges from 25 to 40 percent. However, 33 percent is pretty standard.
So, for example, if you have a 33% contingency fee arrangement and recover $90,000 in your car accident case, your attorney receives around $30,000.
A contingency fee percentage can vary depending on whether a personal injury lawsuit has to be filed against the other driver.
If the case settles outside of court, the percentage is usually on the lower side. If settlement occurs after a lawsuit is filed and the defendant has served a formal answer to your complaint, or if the case goes to trial and a jury verdict is reached, the attorney’s share could increase to 40 percent.
Let’s say your lawyer sent a demand letter to the other driver’s insurance company in your case, and you quickly settled for $90,000. In this situation, the attorney would again receive $30,000, or 33%. But if your case goes to court and ends in a jury verdict of $90,000 and your attorney receives 40% of the settlement, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It would be best if you always spoke with your attorney about their contingency fee and carefully reviewed your contract for legal services. If you do not understand the fee arrangement, as stated in the contract, your attorney can explain it to you. The fee is also negotiable.
It is possible to negotiate a lower contingency percentage. This can be achieved if you have a straightforward case where the car accident’s fault and damages are apparent. It also helps if there is plenty of evidence backing up your claims. You don’t need to give up a third of your compensation to have the leverage of having a lawyer on your side.
Wondering if you even need an attorney at all? Read our blog post “Can I Settle a Car Accident Claim Without a Lawyer?”
Contingency Fee Agreements Are Only For Plaintiffs
You should also keep in mind that a contingency fee agreement is only an option when an attorney represents a plaintiff.
When you’re the defendant, if you have liability car insurance, your policy almost certainly mandates that your car insurance company provide and pay for an attorney to represent you.
This is part of the insurance company’s “duty to defend.”
If you don’t have car insurance or an attorney isn’t covered, you can hire an attorney on your own.
However, you’ll probably need to pay that attorney a hefty hourly fee, anywhere from around $150 to $500 per hour.
Contact The Angell Law Firm Today
The more serious your injuries, the greater the value of hiring a personal injury attorney in Atlanta.
Suppose you were in a fender bender with little or no injuries. In that case, you might be able to negotiate a personal injury settlement without a lawyer, even though there will still be value in hiring an attorney.
But if you were significantly injured and needed extensive medical treatment, your case’s value will rise quickly.
This means the insurance adjuster will work to minimize your damages and try to get you to accept a very low settlement offer.
That’s when having an experienced lawyer on your side becomes essential.
The Angell Law Firm has been representing car accident victims for years.
They offer free consultations so they can decide the best way to help you.
Bryce is considered a highly esteemed trial lawyer and a passionate client advocate amongst his peers in the Atlanta legal community. Never afraid to go the extra mile for his clients, Bryce Angell works tirelessly to ensure that each client’s personal injury case gets the attention that it deserves.