A car accident attorney will likely charge you a fee for the work they do. This fee may be a set amount or based on the number of hours they work. The fee can range from several hundred to thousands of dollars, depending on the lawyer’s experience and reputation.
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You should have a clear understanding of the costs and benefits associated with hiring a lawyer. Depending on the case, you will be required to pay court filing fees, retainer fees, and expert witness fees. Fortunately, you won’t have to foot the bill if your lawyer loses your case.
One of the most common types of the fee is a contingency fee. This type of arrangement allows your lawyer to receive a percentage of your settlement or award. In a typical case, the attorney receives 33 to 40 percent. If the case goes to trial, the percentage can increase to as much as 40 percent.
The best way to determine what kind of percentage your attorney is charging is to review your state’s legal codes. Your lawyer should be willing to discuss the costs and benefits of the fee. Some attorneys are happy to provide a quote for a fixed fee while others require upfront payment before they start working on your case.
Another factor that will impact the percentage is the stage of the case. A simple car accident case will earn a smaller percentage than a complex, multi-party suit. Also, a lawyer with a low percentage may be willing to settle with the at-fault party’s insurance company before going to trial.
An experienced car accident lawyer will be more than willing to negotiate on your behalf. They will also have the resources to level the playing field with the insurance company. However, if your attorney does not provide a good level of service, you could end up with a lower settlement than you expected.
Another aspect to consider is the time it takes to settle your case. Going to trial will take more time and will entail more work for your lawyer. While your lawyer’s time may be worth the fee, a case that settles out of court can still require hundreds of billable hours.
The American Bar Association notes that a car accident attorney can request between 33 and 40 percent of the settlement. Although these figures aren’t necessarily scientifically verified, they do represent the industry standard.
A contingency fee arrangement is a great way to get low-risk access to the court system. But remember to read the fine print. Sometimes, you will be asked to pay for expenses such as medical bills and lost wages. It is advisable to have a written fee agreement in place to avoid a nasty surprise in the future.
The American Bar Association suggests that a car accident attorney’s three-part fee structure can include a retainer, an hourly rate, and a contingency fee. Each of these options can have its advantages and disadvantages.
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