In almost all car accident cases, auto injury lawyers charge clients on a contingency fee basis. This means victims of a crash will not pay attorney fees unless their lawyer helps them to recover money for their losses.
When car accident lawyer fees are charged on a contingency basis, they are charged as a percentage of the compensation the victim receives.
The specific percentage can vary depending whether the case is resolved by a settlement or it goes to trial. It is usually between 25% and 40% with most attorneys charging around 33%. An attorney may charge 25% if the case settles quickly, for example, or as much as 40% if a long trial is required due to the complexity of the case or because the defendant appeals the decision.
If you were awarded $250,000 in your case, this could mean you end up paying as little as $62,500 if your case is resolved quickly or as much as $100,000 if a prolonged trial is necessary.
These costs are for legal fees alone–expenses are an additional cost and are charged separately.
Note that all reputable lawyers provide you with a written contract for their services that spells out their fees and what you are required to pay. If you are not given a written contract, ask for one.
Expenses and Contingency Fees
While car accident lawyer fees are contingent on the outcome of a case, there are costs associated with pursuing a personal injury claim after an auto accident. In some cases, but not all, clients are expected to pay these fees regardless of the outcome. So if you are hiring a car accident lawyer, you will need to find out their policies with regard to legal expenses.
These expenses can include things like:
- Expert witness fees
- Court filing fees
- Court reporter fees
- The cost to obtain police reports and medical records
Some large personal injury firms cover these expenses during the case and simply deduct the money from the settlement when it is received. Other auto accident attorneys require clients to pay these fees as they are incurred.