If you’ve been in an accident where you believe the other driver is at fault, you might want to pursue compensation. The decision of whether to hire a Douglasville auto accident lawyer or not is one of the most significant choices you’ll make. It could significantly affect how much you can recover as compensation. However, most people are reluctant because they don’t know the cost of hiring a car accident lawyer.
Several factors go into choosing the right attorney for you. For many people, price is one of the top factors they consider. Instead of assuming lawyers’ fees are through the roof, keep reading to learn more about the costs of hiring a car accident lawyer and how these fee agreements work.
What Are Attorney Fees?
When you suffer an injury in an auto crash, you might be entitled to compensation. These cases often don’t go to trial and mostly settle out of court. In most settlement agreements, the injured party receives a settlement to let go of the case. You usually need a car accident lawyer that can negotiate your case to help you receive full compensation.
Attorney fees differ from one law firm to another. It usually covers legal advice, document productions, research, negotiations, and court representations. Often, the firm charges the client based on the attorney’s education and experience. The firm’s reputation also plays a role in the attorney’s fee.
There’s always a need for an initial consultation to hire an attorney. During this period, the attorney would discuss the case’s details and answer your questions. At this point, the potential client usually talks about the attorney fee with the Douglasville auto accident lawyer.
How Contingency Fees Work in Douglasville Car Accidents
A Douglasville car accident lawyer will often choose to charge a contingency fee. These fees are standard with cases where the client suffered an injury and sought a financial settlement for their losses. In this scenario, the attorney and the client usually agree that the lawyer will represent them with no upfront payment. However, the attorney will receive a percentage of the financial settlement if and when the client wins the case.
The client does not have to pay attorney fees if the lawsuit is unsuccessful. However, in successful cases, the attorney will get a share of the settlement as payment based on the initial agreement. There are varying benefits to agreeing to a contingency fee agreement for the client. They usually don’t have to worry about attorney fees while the case is still in court.
If you choose to retain a lawyer, there’s always a need for a contingency fee agreement. This contract covers the fees and details of the working relationship between the attorney and the client. However, the attorney will collect their payment from the settlement money after the case. Every contingency fee agreement needs to be in writing. It allows the client to review the agreement terms and make queries before finally signing it.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Calculates Contingency Fees
Every case is different when calculating contingency fees. The contingency fee for cases involving a government entity will differ from that involving an average person. In Douglasville car accident cases, the contingency fee percentage is usually one-third or 33% of the compensation. However, the timeline and complexity of the case might affect the percentage. Most times, the contingency fee percentage ranges from 20 to 40%.
The calculation of contingency fees gets complicated when you factor in the litigation costs and expenses to resolve the claim. For a Douglasville auto accident lawyer to litigate your case, some expenditures to expect will be:
- Court filing fees
- Expert witnesses and investigator fees
- Court reporters, posting and mailing
- Police reports and medical charts, and other documents
- Process servers for subpoenas and summons
- Expenses related to trial exhibits, transcripts, etc.
The fees increase as the case progresses. Depending on the contingency fee agreement, the car accident lawyer might choose to cover these expenses as they become due or then deduct them from the compensation obtained for the client.
A variable you should discuss when setting up the contingency fee agreement is whether the fees should be deducted after the Douglasville auto accident lawyer receives their percentage or before. Either option is legal; both parties should clarify which method would be implemented from the beginning.
The Hourly Option
Another way that attorneys receive their fees in the legal world is through the hourly billing method. It is a common choice for auto accident defense attorneys. However, it is not a common choice when the car accident lawyer works on the plaintiff’s side. In the case of hourly billing, the attorney sets an amount for each hour completed. Expect to pay between $100 to $500 per hour.
Flat Fee Agreements
A car accident lawyer charges a flat fee for specific legal work. This type of billing method is rare amongst car accident lawyers. However, it could arise if the client requires the Douglasville auto accident lawyer to perform a specific task like creating a demand letter. However, clients don’t have to worry about this billing method. Car accident attorneys usually avoid this method because of the unpredictability of litigation.
The Cost of Not Hiring a Douglasville Car Accident Lawyer
Most people believe that if they handle their case on their own, they can keep 100% of the compensation. Although it might look like a minor accident you can handle, the value of a car accident case can rise quickly. Most times, the insurance carrier will be working hard to reduce your damages and get you to accept a low settlement. In such a case, having an experienced Douglasville auto accident lawyer is crucial.
Car accident lawyers understand the process of filing a claim and possess the resources necessary to level the playing field with insurance carriers. Without a lawyer to help you navigate the process, you’re at a significant disadvantage at the negotiation table. This explains why most people without legal representation get a much lower settlement than those with an attorney on their side.
Get a Free Consultation With a Douglasville Car Accident Lawyer
When you work with a Douglasville personal injury lawyer, the benefits are usually higher than the cost. Besides working with a contingency fee agreement, your car accident lawyer might not charge anything for the consultation. During this initial consultation, you can ask us any questions you might have and learn more about your case.
Contact Hartley, Rowe & Fowler, P.C. to schedule a free case evaluation with a car accident lawyer today.