If you have been injured in a car accident and need to try to recover your losses, the last thing you need is to start racking up legal fees that you can’t afford to pay. Fortunately, this shouldn’t be the case. Typically, car accident lawyers handle their clients’ cases on a contingency-fee basis, which means they only get paid if they help their clients win just compensation.
What Does It Mean If a Car Accident Lawyer Handles Cases “On Contingency”?
When a lawyer handles a car accident case “on contingency,” the attorney’s payment is contingent, or conditioned upon, securing a settlement or verdict on the client’s behalf. If the client’s case is successful, the attorney receives a percentage of the client’s settlement or verdict. If the client’s case is unsuccessful, then the attorney does not get paid.
Why Do Car Accident Lawyers Handle Cases on Contingency?
Car accident lawyers handle cases on contingency for a couple of reasons. First, they know that, in most cases, their clients simply cannot afford to pay retainer fees and hourly rates. So, in order to provide representation, they do not charge any fees upfront. Instead, they accept a portion of the client’s award as payment for their services if the case is successful.
Second, generally speaking, car accident lawyers only take cases they believe they can win. If a potential client’s case is unlikely to be successful, rather than risking working for free and wasting the potential client’s time, an attorney will simply decline representation. On the other hand, if a car accident victim appears to have a significant claim for damages, the contingency-fee arrangement creates a framework that enables the attorney to get paid fairly for his or her hard work on what may be a complex and hotly contested claim.
Will I Have to Pay Court Costs and Other Expenses?
It depends on the law firm you choose. At the Law Offices of Mickey Fine, we do not charge our clients any upfront costs. Court costs, expert witness fees, and other expenses associated with pursuing a car accident claim can add up quickly, and we do not expect our clients to cover these expenses while their claims are pending. When a case is over, we recoup these costs from our client’s settlement or verdict.
What Percentage of My Settlement or Verdict Will Go Toward Contingency Fees?
The agreement you sign upon hiring the attorney should specify the terms for how much you owe in the event of a favorable outcome. The exact fee will depend on the amount recovered, but you should know the rate your lawyer charges at the beginning of the claim.
According to AllLaw, the average percentage owed to the attorney on contingency in accident and personal injury matters is 33 percent. The percentage may change based on whether the case is resolved before trial or goes before a jury, but the conditions should be clearly specified in your upfront agreement.
At the Law Offices of Mickey Fine, our contingency fees are competitive with those charged by other law firms in and around Bakersfield, and throughout California.
When You Subtract Contingency Fees and Costs, Is It Still Worth It to Hire a Lawyer?
Yes, without a doubt. Remember, your attorney’s contingency fees are calculated as a percentage of your award, so you will never have to pay more than a fraction of the amount you receive. Additionally, while the costs of pursuing your claim can add up, they will pale in comparison to the amount of your settlement or verdict.
Also, the amount you recover with the help of an experienced car accident attorney will almost certainly be significantly more than any amount you might be able to collect on your own. There are mistakes you need to avoid as well, and you will need a lawyer to help you calculate just compensation for your pain and suffering and other non-financial losses. In short, there are many different ways that an attorney can help you, and the costs of not hiring a lawyer can be far more substantial.
Are There Any “Hidden Fees” or Other Costs I Should Know About?
No. When it comes to car accident claims, the costs are fairly straightforward. Your attorney is only entitled to compensation for his or her services if your claim is successful, and you will only pay the costs of pursuing your claim if you receive compensation. There are no markups or hidden fees; and, before you hire your lawyer, you should receive a detailed breakdown of the fees and costs for which you will be responsible if you win your case.
Injured in a Car Accident in Bakersfield? Schedule a Free Consultation Now
If you would like more information about our contingency-fee representation and our experience representing victims of serious and fatal car accidents in California, we encourage you to schedule a free initial consultation. To request an appointment with attorney Mickey Fine, call us at 661-333-3333 or send us your contact information online now.