Many car accident attorneys work on what is known as a contingency fee basis. This means, the injured party can hire an experienced lawyer without having to pay legal fees up front. Contingency fee arrangements allow lawyer fees to be deducted from the final settlement or final verdict at trial. Most accident attorneys will deduct any expenses they covered during the case.
Contingency Fee Percentages
Most contingency fees are between 33 and 40%, but you can try to negotiate a reduced agreement. In the majority of cases that an auto accident attorney handles, he generally receives 33%, or one-third, of any settlement. For instance, if your car crash is thought to be worth $30,000 dollars, the lawyer will take $10,000 plus additional money for any other expenses. The client is given the remainder, which in this case comes out to be around $20,000.
Receiving an Accident Settlement Before Filing a Lawsuit
When you bring forth a case to a lawyer, he will send a demand letter to the negligent party who is at fault for your injuries. The letter will explain the injuries and the expected payment. Typically, in a good case, the wrongdoer will make a counteroffer, and further negotiations will commence. Keep in mind, this all occurs before you file a lawsuit. Settling a case before filing a lawsuit likely means the accident attorney cannot receive more than 33% of the settlement.
Settlement After Filing a Lawsuit
If the negligent person or party does not take settlement negotiations seriously or fails to answer any of your demands in the letter, a lawsuit will be filed if you have a strong enough case. In many states, if your settlement occurs after filing a lawsuit, the car accident lawyer is allowed to receive a higher percentage of the settlement, which is usually around 40%. For example, if your case settles for $50,000, the lawyer may recover $20,000. Be sure to assess the expenses of an accident lawsuit. As the case progresses, it will likely get more costly.
Costs and Expenses
When an attorney takes on a case, he may cover costs and expenses and then deduct them from your share of the settlement. Or, he may charge you when they’re due. When the client is responsible for paying expenses as the come up, the case will most likely not proceed until the payment is taken care of.
Expenses of a car accident case may include:
- medical records
- police reports
- witness fees
- filing fees
Expenses may be high, especially if your case does not settle until close to trial. The final cost deducted from the attorney may end up totaling between 45% and 60% of the settlement.
The Lawyer Will Receive the Check
Generally, it is a common practice for the settlement check to be sent directly to the lawyer. Because many accident lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis, they risk not getting paid if they do not receive the check. When the check is ready to be sent out, the lawyer will contact the client. The lawyer should explain the amount he is taking out, as well.
Free Consultations at the Heslin Law Firm
If you were involved in a car accident or any type of motor vehicle collision, contact the Heslin Law Firm. Our skilled auto accident attorneys have over three decades of experience helping clients receive a financial settlement that covers the cost of their medical expenses, lost wages, future lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
We understand how difficult and overwhelming a car crash can be. Whether it’s simply property damage or a serious injury, your life has been interrupted. When the accident is caused by negligence, it’s important to hold the liable party responsible for their actions. Call the Heslin Law Firm today, or contact us on the web to schedule a free consultation.