What is a Contingency Fee in Your Car Accident Claim?
If you've been involved in a car accident and it's clear that the other driver was at fault, you'll need to find a personal injury attorney. However, you might be wondering how much this will cost?
Charging a contingency fee, unlike the hourly fee that many firms charge for other types of cases, means that the firm does not get paid unless you recover money in your case.
The attorney or law firm will receive a percentage of any car insurance settlement or jury award (if your case goes to trial).
Contingency fees can be a confusing topic, even when an experienced attorney explains it. Understanding how they work and what you can expect to pay will help you decide whether to hire a lawyer or represent yourself in your accident case.
Our personal injury attorneys at Rose Sanders Law Firm, PLLC, are well-versed in contingency-fee-based car accident cases. We work hard to get Texans the compensation they deserve in personal injury cases, so read on to hear more!
How Much is a Contingency Fee?
Contingency fees for personal injury lawyers depend on the agreed-upon percentage but typically range from 25 to 40 percent. You can expect to pay somewhere in the range of about 30 percent, depending on the specifics of your case. For example, if your lawyer has a 30% contingency fee, and your settlement recovers $100,000 in your car accident case, then your attorney will receive about $30,000.
The percentage a personal injury lawyer is willing to accept as a contingency fee varies depending on the severity of the case.
If you settle your claim outside of court, you will likely recover fewer damages than if the personal injury case is tried in front of a judge. In this case, the lawyer's contingency fee may be lower than a trial. Conversely, the lawyer's fees may increase if the case goes to a jury trial.
It is always best to speak with one of our attorneys about the contingency fee and review any contracts for legal services. If you do not understand how the fee arrangement works in the agreement, one of our attorneys will be happy to explain it to you to understand the situation better.
There also may be room to negotiate your contingency fee—the percentage of any award you receive that the lawyer will get paid from. When you meet with your lawyer to discuss your case, don't forget to inquire about the contingency fee rate!
A more significant contingency fee may help you obtain a skilled lawyer in car accident claims or other particulars. You can make it easier for the attorney to take your case and accept a lower percentage of the settlement or verdict because they wouldn't have to work as hard on the case while not sacrificing much of your potential award.
If you're willing to try mediation before taking your car accident claim to court, then it's a good idea to speak with an attorney who has experience in mediation. They may have worked on cases that required less time and energy than taking it to court, making the percentage of your settlement that they will receive even lower.
Contingency Fee Alternatives
Not all lawyers collect a contingency fee at the end of your case.
Instead, they may collect an initial retainer, and then the contingency fee is a percentage of your final settlement if you win.
In the case of flat fees, a law firm is not likely to charge a flat fee for most car accident cases.
Flat fee agreements may be reserved for more straightforward issues, such as drafting and responding to a demand letter.
Keep in mind that for more complex car accidents involving vehicular manslaughter or criminal activities that caused the crash, some law firms will charge an hourly rate and may require a more significant retainer.
Covering Expenses and Fees
Lawyers charge different fees for the various tasks associated with a car accident case, and many lawyers require clients to pay these costs upfront.
Lawyers often charge court reporter fees, expert witness fees, and medical records retrieval expenses before the plaintiff is awarded funds from the defendant (or, in some cases, before any settlement has been made).
If your contract states you are responsible for these costs, be prepared to pay them as they become due. Often, these expenses are crucial to the success of your case. Most firms operate on the inability to collect from you, meaning that they will likely terminate your case and stop acting on it, so these fees and expenses may be crucial.
Other personal injury firms will cover all fees and expenses on your behalf. The legal fees will be deducted from the settlement or judgment won in your case. These law firms are usually larger, with more personnel available.
It is essential to understand the fee structure for your lawyer—for example, whether they take their money from the total settlement or net. Some law firms will try to take the contingency fee from the gross (total) amount of your compensation before expenses are taken from the amount. This increases the amount they receive but does not account for the costs of the expenses.
Hire a Texas Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Car Accident
Some car accident injury claims appear as though settling with an insurance adjuster is easiest. But if the injuries are severe, or you or your loved one has lost work, functions, or needs to pay medical bills, you may be entitled to compensation.
In this case, hiring one of our experienced personal injury attorneys to explain your available options is the best bet. We have experience in the insurance adjusting field, and our attorneys will aggressively pursue your claim on your behalf.
Having an experienced lawyer on your side is essential when dealing with insurance companies, as they may try to give you a low settlement offer. If you are ever in a situation where you need to hire a personal injury attorney, or have questions, don't hesitate to get in touch with us.
Charging a contingency fee means that the firm does not get paid unless you recover money in your case.
The attorney or law firm will receive a percentage of any car insurance settlement or jury award (if your case goes to trial), typically 30%.
Contingency fees for personal injury lawyers depend on the law firm and security of your case, but often range from 25 to 40 percent.
For example, if your lawyer has a 30% contingency fee, and your settlement recovers $100,000 in your car accident case, then your attorney will receive about $30,000.
Research the law firm, ask questions, and properly understand the fee schedule before you start working with any personal injury attorney.
Contact our team of personal injury attorneys at Rose Sanders Law Firm, PLLC if you have any questions!