In many cases, a person involved in a car accident will suffer significant financial losses treating injuries and repairing property damage caused by the accident. These people may wish to pursue a claim against the party that caused the accident but may be hesitant due to uncertainty regarding the cost of an attorney. If you suffered harm or economic damage due to a car accident it is in your best interest to talk to a car accident attorney to discuss what damages you may be able to recover and the cost of representation.
Attorney Fee Structures
There are multiple different ways in which an attorney may be compensated for representing a person in a lawsuit arising out of car accident. One of the most common fee arrangements is a contingent fee agreement. Under this type of agreement, the attorney does not receive any compensation unless he or she obtains a financial award on behalf of his or her client. If the attorney is able to successfully recover damages, the attorney’s compensation will be a percentage of the total damages award. Damages typically awarded include not only the cost of medical bills and repairing damage to a car, but also compensation for pain and suffering and loss of a normal life. A contingent fee agreement can vary in the percentage the attorney will receive, but it is most common for the percentage to range from 33 1/3% to 40%. Please note that most car accident lawyers, including our office, typically don’t charge a fee for collecting property damage unless the damages are collected in litigation.
Another method in which attorneys are paid is via an hourly rate. This is not common in personal injury lawsuits, but in some cases a person and his or her attorney may find this arrangement to be more suitable. Under an hourly billing arrangement, the attorney will receive an agreed upon amount for each hour worked. This is risky for the plaintiff. If the case falls apart for any reason, he or she may have already paid a significant amount of money for hourly legal fees. But with the above discussed contingency fee, it’s no fee unless you win, so the risk is on the lawyer and the plaintiff does not have to worry about how they are going to pay for their legal services.
In very rare cases an attorney could charge a flat fee. This could happen in the unlikely scenario where a plaintiff has already received a settlement offer and just needs assistance finishing up the case.
Regardless of the fee arrangement a person and his or her attorney agree upon, it is important to consider other financial costs that might be associated with filing a lawsuit. For example, it should be discussed whether the person or his or her attorney will be responsible for advancing costs such as expert fees, filing fees, and obtaining necessary records. In some cases, the person pursuing a claim will have to pay these costs up front, while in others, the attorney will pay the fees and they will be deducted from any compensation the party is awarded.
For example, our law firm advances costs to prosecute the case and the money advanced is reimbursed at the time of settlement. We do not ask the client to pay any money up front. However, there are some law firms that might ask you to pay expenses as the case moves forward. Costs of a case can include, but are not limited to, obtaining the police report, ordering medical records and bills, lawsuit filing fees, court reporter fees, and retaining experts. These are expenses that you would need to pay on your own if you did not have a car accident lawyer. When you are considering retaining counsel, you might ask if the law office advances costs.
Please note that most cases settle without having to file a lawsuit. When a case settles pre-litigation, the costs are typically much more reasonable than when a lawsuit is filed. Pre-suit costs are usually $100 – $300, but there can be exceptions. It’s typically the expense of obtaining the police report and ordering records and bills from the medical providers you’ve received treatment from due to the accident. These costs could run higher if the medical records are voluminous or if an expert is needed.
Meet with a Knowledgeable Car Accident Attorney Regarding Your Case
If you suffered damages due to a car accident you should speak with a knowledgeable car accident attorney regarding your case and what compensation you may be able to recover. The skilled car accident attorneys of Abels & Annes, P.C. will work diligently to assist you in your pursuit of the full amount of compensation you may be able to recover for the harm caused by your car accident. We can be reached at (312) 924-7575 or through our online form to schedule a free and confidential consultation.