Different lawyers will charge different rates for accident claims. The complexity of the case and the type of payment plan or structure used by the attorney can drastically alter the amount they charge to offer you legal consultation or provide you with legal representation throughout your claim. This can be troubling news to hear for those pursuing their own personal injury lawsuit, particularly as these types of cases can put you under enormous financial pressure. The good news, however, is that the majority of accident attorneys will work for a contingency fee. This means that they do not collect their payment unless they are able to successfully negotiate a settlement on your behalf or win a financial award in trial.
One of the most significant benefits of having an attorney who bills through a contingency fee is that it offers them more incentive to get the maximum compensation for you. They will be paid from a percentage of your claim award, and the larger the number they can win for you reflects directly on their own paycheck for the case. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, workplace accident, or through the negligence of another you should find a dedicated personal injury lawyer to work with as quickly as possible.
At Chicago Car Accident Lawyers our experienced lawyers have an established track record for getting our clients the compensation they are due. Our team will help you understand the process for filing your injury claim, negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, and prepare an aggressive legal strategy in the event that your case goes to trial. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.
How Lawyers Get Paid
There is no industry standard that regulates how attorneys are paid for their work. Every law firm will likely structure their payment plans a little differently than others, and within the same law firm different attorneys can work at different rates. The best way to know how much an attorney will cost you is to set up a meeting to breakdown their fee structure.
There are, however, several different types of payments that lawyers tend to use for billing. These are:
- Contingency Fees: a payment structure in which your attorney receives a specified percentage of your financial award.
- Hourly Fees: some attorneys will bill by an hourly rate, so the longer and more complex your case the more expensive it will be.
- Flat Fees: a payment plan in which the attorney bills you a specific price in exchange for a particular service.
Accident injuries often leave the victim in a difficult financial position, making it difficult for victims to afford attorney fees. Because of this, many accident attorneys will work for a contingency fee. This means that the attorney will be paid if and when they are able to get you a settlement, at a rate agreed on by both parties before the attorney begins working on your case.
When you have found the lawyer you want to represent you throughout your accident claim, make sure you understand their fee structure before moving forward. Ask them any questions you have regarding how they get paid and what services you can expect in exchange. They shouldn't have any problem breaking their pricing down for you to understand.
What You Are Paying a Lawyer For
Now that you know how lawyers get paid, you need to understand what exactly you are paying them for. Attorneys tend to wear quite a few different hats throughout a case, offering several important services to help you. It is common for a lawyer to do any of the following for their clients:
- Investigate the facts of the case. Lawyers spend time investigating the facts of your case to determine if their are any missed factors that can boost your claim.
- Serve as an advisor for you. The legal system is complex and confusing, and few people have the time or resources to dedicate to learning it on their own. Fortunately you can hire a professional to provide you with legal advice and create an effective strategy based on your cases unique circumstances.
- Negotiating on your behalf. Insurance companies can afford to keep teams of lawyers on retainer to handle all their accident claims. This puts you at a severe disadvantage in negotiating if you feel their first offer is too low. An experienced lawyer who knows how to handle these kinds of negotiations can make a substantial difference in the outcome.
- Working as your representative. Your attorney is able to serve as your representative for all official communication regarding your case. That includes filing the paperwork needed to keep the case moving forward in a timely manner.
- Providing legal advocacy. Your lawyer will be your legal advocate if your case ends up in front of a judge. They will be responsible for presenting your case to the jury.
Lawyer Contingency Fees
The vast majority of personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This is good news for many accident victims as they are frequently left facing financial difficulty due to medical bills, property damage, and lost income. When an attorney works for a contingency fee, they only collect their fee if they succeed in getting their client financial compensation. With this format nearly all of the financial risk is removed from the client, making it far easier for many people to afford attorneys even after a severe injury.
When you hire your lawyer they should give you a breakdown of their fees and fee structure. Be sure you understand the payment plan before you sign it, and ask questions about anything that is not clear. The contingency fee agreement will spell out terms for how your attorney will get paid, including what percentage they get and how that may change if certain terms are met. If you receive financial compensation for your injuries it will come in one of two forms:
- A settlement resulting from negotiations with the insurance company.
- A financial award given by the judge hearing your trial.
The contingency fee percentage will vary from one lawyer to the next, and will also often change depending on how your case unfolds. For example, one accident lawyer might charge 25% for easy cases that are able to be quickly settled via negotiation, and 35% if the same case requires a trial. This allows the lawyer to offset the difference in the amount of time each of those situations require.
Be sure to remember that this percentage is just the attorney fees, and any expenses that add up during the case will be separately billed. Make sure you have a copy of the contingency fee arrangement and fully understand how everything will be calculated for your case.
Additional Fees to Consider
Your case is almost certain to require a few extra costs along the way, and these are billed in addition to the agreed-upon percentage that makes up your attorney's fees. These are generally just the costs that come from opening a legal case including filing fees, court costs, cost of materials, expert witness fees, and further litigation costs. The total amount can vary widely from one case to the next depending on its complexity and how long it takes to conclude.
Once again, it is critical for you to understand the payment structure before you hire an attorney. This will tell you if you or the lawyer will be expected to cover any upfront costs for the case, and if so which ones. Additionally, it will allow you to understand if the law firm will waive these costs or if they will be paid back from the financial award.
When Should I Hire an Attorney for a Car Accident?
You should hire a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can following an accident injury. This will allow them to take the time necessary to gather information on your case and build an aggressive strategy for settlement negotiations. And if negotiations are unsuccessful their familiarity with your case will allow them to develop the strongest possible case to present to the judge.
Is It Worth Getting a Car Accident Lawyer?
If you have been injured in a car accident it is absolutely worth it to hire an experienced car accident attorney. They will offer a variety of legal services to help you claim your fair accident settlement, including filing your personal injury claim, negotiating with insurance companies as your representative, and handling any legal communication for you.
Lots of variables factor into attorney costs, and this is particularly true for car accident attorneys. Fortunately, many accident lawyers will work on a contingency fee basis, allowing you to pay your legal expenses out of whatever financial award you receive. Our dedicated legal team at Chicago Car Accident Lawyers knows what it takes to get you the maximum compensation for your case, and will fight tirelessly to get it. Contact us today at (312) 300-2515 to schedule a free initial case consultation.