Your Guide to Car Accident Attorney Fees
If you’ve been in a car accident, you may be wondering how much it will cost to hire an attorney. Car accident attorney fees can vary depending on the lawyer, their experience, and the type of case.
As well, you’ll want to know the difference in fees between car accident attorneys, including contingency fees, expenses, and different types of car accident case fees.
In this blog post, we will go over the different types of car accident attorney fees and what you can expect to pay.
Types of Car Accident Attorney Fees
Here are some of the most common car accident attorney fee types.
1. Contingency Fees
Let’s start with contingency fees. A contingency fee is when an attorney gets paid only if they win your case. The lawyer will take a percentage of the money awarded to you, usually around 33%. If the lawyer doesn’t win your case, you don’t owe them anything.
Most car accident cases are handled on a contingency fee basis. That means the lawyer gets paid only if they recover money for you, either through a settlement or a verdict. The lawyer’s fee is a percentage of the total amount recovered. For example, if you hired an attorney on a contingency fee basis with a 33% contingency fee and you recovered $90,000 in your car accident case, the attorney would receive $29,700.
2. Upfront Court & Litigation Fees
Some car accident attorneys may also require you to pay upfront court fees and other litigation expenses, like the cost of obtaining medical records and police reports, court reporter fees, and expert witness fees. These costs are levied by most personal injury firms as soon as they become due.
If your car accident attorney fee contract states that you are responsible for these fees, the lawyer will collect them as they come due. If you cannot afford the court costs, your case will most likely not move forward until a payment agreement is reached.
Some car accident attorneys may front these costs on your behalf and deduct them from any future settlement or jury verdict you receive in your case.
It is possible that your case will not settle and will need to go to trial. If this happens, your attorney will likely incur additional costs associated with taking your case to court. These costs can include the cost of hiring expert witnesses, court filing fees, and the cost of reproducing evidence for trial.
3. Other Car Accident Attorney Fees
In some cases, your car accident attorney may choose to collect a retainer fee. A retainer fee is a flat fee that is paid upfront. The retainer fee allows your attorney to begin working on your case right away.
If you get money back from your case, be sure to ask your attorney how the retainer fee will be applied. In some cases, the retainer fee may be deducted from your final settlement amount. For example, if you paid a $1,000 retainer and recovered $100,000 in your settlement, the attorney would receive $32,000 (33% of 100,000 = $33,000 – $1,000 retainer fee).
Other car accident attorney fees to keep in mind include:
- Case evaluation fees: Some attorneys may charge a fee to review your case and give you their opinion on whether you have a strong case.
- Hourly fees: If you decide to work with an attorney on an hourly basis, be sure to ask for an estimate of how many hours the attorney anticipates billing. You should also ask for an estimate of the total fees you will be responsible for if the case does not settle.
- Deposition and court costs: These fees are typically passed on to the client. Be sure to ask your attorney whether these costs will be included in the contingency fee or whether you will be responsible for paying them out-of-pocket.
Calculating Attorney Fees for a Car Accident
If you’re trying to calculate how much you’ll owe your attorney after a car accident, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Most auto accident attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means they will receive a percentage of your final settlement or verdict. As discussed above, this percentage is usually around 33%.
- If you have already paid an upfront retainer fee, that amount may be deducted from the total amount owed to the attorney.
- Some attorneys will charge hourly fees for any work done on your case outside of court appearances. These fees can range from $100-$500/hour and you will be responsible for paying these fees even if you do not win your case.
When to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident
You may be wondering when is the right time to hire an attorney after a car accident. The answer to this question depends on many factors. Some people choose to hire an attorney right away, while others wait until they have received all of their medical treatment.
There are a few things you should keep in mind when deciding whether to hire an attorney:
- The severity of your injuries
- The amount of damage to your vehicle
- Whether the other driver was cited for the accident
- Your insurance company’s policies
For example, those who experience injury during a car crash will likely want to hire an attorney right away. The more serious the injury, the more important it is to have legal representation.
Keep in mind that even if you do not hire an attorney right away, you may still want to consult with one. Many attorneys will offer free consultations, so you can get advice on your case without commitment.
Start Your Car Accident Case Today
Remember, every car accident case needs an auto accident report. If you’ve been in a recent car accident and need your report, use Auto Accident Reports online location tool. You can easily browse police reports and auto accident reports online or contact one of our dedicated partner attorneys today.