Many people hesitate to hire a San Antonio car accident lawyer because they’re worried about the cost. But this hesitation often stems from being unaware of how lawyers charge in the first place and how much value they can bring to your car accident case.
If you or anyone you know has been involved in a car accident and are weighing the decision of whether or not to hire a lawyer, here’s an overview of a car accident attorney’s standard fees.
Fee Arrangements of a Car Accident Lawyer
Different firms and lawyers will have unique payment methods they prefer for their services. However, most car accident attorneys charge on a contingency basis.
A contingency fee is an agreement that the lawyer will not receive payment or charge attorney’s fees unless their client can recover money in their car accident claim. From the name itself, the lawyer’s compensation is contingent on the outcome of the case.
If the client gets a favorable settlement or is awarded a sum of money by the court, the lawyer gets a portion of it as legal fees. The percentage a lawyer can receive varies from firm to firm, but the standard range is 25% to 40%.
There are also lawyers whose contingency fee percentages depend on when the case is resolved. For example, in a case that gets settled without trial, the contingency fee will typically be a third of the settlement.
On the other hand, a case that requires mediation or arbitration can come with a higher contingency fee to compensate the lawyer for their extra time and resources.
The contingency fee arrangement is highly beneficial for a client as it allows you to engage a lawyer risk-free. In addition, you don’t shell out money from your pocket but instead give the lawyer a percentage of the money you receive from your claim.
Flat Fee and Retainers
While most lawyers charge on a contingency basis, a few have different payment arrangements. They can either collect a retainer or charge a flat fee for their services.
A retainer is paid before engaging the lawyer’s services. It’s sort of like a down payment for them to begin working on your case. In the end, they also receive a percentage of the settlement or the amount awarded by the court as a contingency fee.
If you win the case, the retainer amount is deducted from the contingency fee. However, if you lose the case, the retainer is often non-refundable.
Lawyers may also charge a flat fee for their services, which is uncommon in personal injury cases. Basically, a flat fee is a one-time payment made to your lawyer to compensate them for their work.
Other Costs in a Car Accident Case
It’s important to know that a car accident case will also come with other expenses, such as:
● Filing fees
● Fees charged for depositions, transcripts, and trial exhibits
● Fees to obtain medical records
● Photocopying fees
● Postage fees
● Witness or investigator fees
However, most lawyers will shoulder these expenses as they come and simply deduct the total cost from the settlement or award.
Is It Worth Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer?
A lawyer is valuable in a car accident case, especially if it involves severe injuries and complex laws. The bigger the accident is and the more serious your injuries are, the higher the value and compensation you can receive. But without a lawyer, your insurance provider will try to get you to accept a low settlement or deny your claim altogether.
You need a partner who can help you navigate the complexities of a car accident case and protect your rights in the process. An experienced attorney can speak with insurance providers on your behalf, negotiate a fair settlement, and fight for the compensation you deserve in a lawsuit.
As such, whatever percentage is taken out of your settlement or award to pay for your lawyer’s legal fees is a small price to pay to get the maximum value owed to you after a car accident.