Compensation for Car Accident Lawyers
All personal injury lawyers, and this includes car accident attorneys, may charge clients hourly billing rates or on contingency basis, the latter being the predominant practice.
A contingency fee is money what you pay an auto accident attorney when your case ends successfully and you get compensation from the other party. No compensation means no payment of legal fees.
Contingency fees are often calculated as a percentage of the whole amount you receive after settlement or judgment. In some cases, lawyers will take a portion of the gross award (before expenses are removed), while in others, they will take a part of the net award (after expenses are removed). Percentages are not the same for all regions, and you may be able to negotiate for a smaller percentage rate with your car accident attorney. All negotiations, if any, must take place prior to contract signing.
Should you win money, you are also required to reimburse your lawyer for any expenses involved in your case, such as filing fees, expert witness fees, etc. When attorneys work on contingency, they will usually waive expenses if they were unable to win or settle the case.
The good thing about contingency fee arrangements is that you don’t owe the attorney anything if you do not receive any compensation. As you both will benefit financially, you can be sure that they will also be motivated to get you the best possible judgment or settlement. This is one of the reasons car accident lawyers will usually decline cases that are weak based on their evaluation. If they take a case that is weak and they agree to a contingency arrangement, they will not take the risk.
In some cases, attorneys will take a car accident case and get paid hourly. That means you will still pay the attorney for all the time they spend on your case, whether or not your case plays out well. Win or lose, settlement or no settlement, the lawyer gets paid.
It’s true that contingency arrangements are the more common practice when it comes to car accident cases, but per-hour billing is hardly uncommon. And generally, if a lawyer proposes per-hour charges, it’s probably because a case is weak. You’ll likely have to think twice about hiring a lawyer or just accepting the insurance company’s settlement offer. Of course, in the end, whether you will be charged per hour or based on a contingency basis, you have to ensure that you’ve chosen the right lawyer in the first place.