How Are Car Accident Lawyers Paid?
All personal injury lawyers, including auto accident lawyers, may charge clients in any of two ways: by with hourly rates or on contingency basis, the latter being more common.
A contingency fee is the sum you pay a car accident attorney once your case is successful and you have received compensation for your injuries. If you get no compensation, then you pay no legal fees.
Contingency fees are typically based on a percentage of the total amount you get from a judgment or settlement. There are lawyers who will take a portion of your gross award, meaning, the full sum without deductions, while others will others will take a part of your net award, or the remaining sum after expenses are removed from your total award. Percentages are different from region to region, and you might be able to work out a lower percentage rate with your car accident lawyer. Whatever negotiations take place must close before you sign an agreement.
If you receive money, you’ll also be responsible for refunding your attorney’s costs while working on your case (for example, copying fees, filing fees and the like). Typically, attorneys paid on contingency will not have you pay these expenses if your case turns out unsuccessful.
The advantage of a contingency arrangement is that your lawyer will not charge you anything if your case doesn’t play out well. Considering that both you will gain financially from this case, they will likely be driven as well to get you the largest judgment or settlement possible. This is one of the reasons car accident lawyers will usually decline cases that are weak based on their evaluation. If they accept a weak case and get paid on contingency, they risk losing money.
In certain cases, a lawyer will accept an auto accident case and be paid on an hourly basis. This means your attorney will be paid for every hour they work on your claim, no matter if you get compensated by the party responsible for your car accident. Whether you lose a case in court or failed to settle amicably with the other party or their insurance company, you pay your lawyer.
While contingency arrangements are more common for car accident cases, per-hour billing is not uncommon either. And usually, if an attorney wants to charge you per hour, they would have assessed your case as weak. You might consider thinking twice about hiring a lawyer or just accepting the settlement deal that the other party is offering. Of course, in the end, whether you will be charged per hour or based on a contingency basis, you have to ensure that you’ve chosen the right lawyer in the first place.