If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be wondering how much money it will cost you to hire car accident lawyers. The answer is that it depends on the value of your car accident case: a typical car accident attorney will charge 30 to 40 percent of any compensation they recover for you.
This type of fee is known as a contingency fee. Most car accident attorneys, such as Nadrich & Cohen, work on a contingency fee basis, meaning the lawyers don’t charge you until and unless they recover compensation for you. This article will describe the various fee types that lawyers charge and will explain more about the typical contingency fee agreement seen in a car accident case.
Table Of Contents:
- Common Car Accident Lawyer Fee Arrangements
- Average Contingency Fees In California: The Basics
- Contingency Fee Benefits
- Is It Worth Hiring A Car Accident Lawyer?
- Factors That Impact Car Accident Lawyer Fees
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Contact A Car Accident Lawyer Today
Common Car Accident Lawyer Fee Arrangements
There are many different types of fees may be charged when you hire a lawyer, depending on the type of lawyer you hire. The types of fees that lawyers charge determine how much they get paid and when they get paid.
These fee types include:
A car accident case will typically be handled by a personal injury lawyer who will charge a contingency fee. A contingency fee represents a percentage of the compensation that is recovered for the client. This fee is not charged unless and until compensation is recovered for the client.
Fixed fees, also known as standard fees, are typically employed for common legal matters like preparing wills. Before you agree to a fixed fee, you should find out what the fee includes and doesn’t include and if your bill might include other charges.
If your lawyer charges by the hour, you should ask them to estimate how long your case will take in order to understand the possible total costs of your case. Keep in mind that the circumstances of your case might change, meaning your case might need more hours than initially expected by your lawyer.
Retainer fees can mean different things. Sometimes it’s a guarantee a lawyer’s availability to take a case – the client is then billed more for any legal work. Sometimes it means the lawyer is available to handle legal problems for a client over a specific time period – some legal work might be covered by the fee and other legal work might not. Sometimes it represents a down payment on any legal services a client needs. If a lawyer says they charge a retainer fee, be sure to ask exactly what they mean by that.
Sometimes, the costs of legal work such as probate work is set by law – a court approves the fee you pay.
Average Contingency Fees In California: The Basics
In California, contingency fees represent a percentage of the compensation an attorney such as a personal injury attorney recovers for their client. This fee isn’t charged until and unless a financial recovery is obtained for the client.
Some states limit the contingency fees that lawyers can recover. California law prohibits lawyers from charging an “unconscionable or illegal fee.” This means a fee is illegal if the fee is too high in proportion to the value of any services performed. In California the typical contingency fee for a car accident case is 33 to 40 percent of the recovery obtained for the client.
How Car Accident Lawyers’ Contingency Fees Work In California
Contingency fee agreements are payment arrangements between car accident attorneys and their clients, typically used in civil litigation cases like personal injury cases. Lawyers who charge contingency fees, instead of charging hourly or flat fees, only get paid if they recover a settlement or award for their client.
The process involves:
The initial consultation: The lawyer will usually offer a free consultation in order to determine how much merit a client’s case has. This consultation lets lawyers decide if cases are valuable enough for them to accept while charging a contingency fee, or if their fees and expenses would outweigh the money they’d recover.
Signing a contingency fee agreement: If the client and lawyer both decide to go ahead, they end up signing an agreement. This contract will detail what percentage the lawyers take as a fee when they recover compensation for their client.
Working on the case: Once a contingency fee agreement is signed, the lawyer will begin to work on the case, investing time into the case and typically fronting expenses for things such as investigations, court costs and expert witness fees. Clients will not pay upfront fees for these things.
Case resolution: Case resolution may occur after demand letters are sent to insurance companies, a lawsuit is filed, or the case goes to trial. If a lawyer recovers a settlement or wins a court case, they will receive the percentage of the recovered compensation agreed upon in the contingency fee agreement. The lawyer will not receive any money if they don’t recover a settlement or court award.
Expense reimbursement: Contingency fee contracts usually state that lawyers get reimbursed for expenses related to the case when a settlement or award is obtained. Once these expenses get accounted for, lawyers take the percentage agreed upon and all of the remaining compensation goes to the client.
Contingency Fee Benefits
Contingency fees allow people of all income levels to obtain quality legal representation in car accident cases. It gives car accident victims the peace of mind of knowing that there’s no risk involved in hiring a lawyer – they won’t owe their lawyer anything if their lawyer doesn’t recover compensation for them.
Contingency fees also allow car accident victims to avoid upfront costs. This is important since many car accident victims are facing huge medical bills, aren’t able to work because of their injuries and are short on money because they can’t work.
Finally, contingency fees motivate lawyers to recover big settlements for their clients since they get paid more if they recover more for their clients.
Is It Worth Hiring A Car Accident Lawyer?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you will not be able to recover the compensation you’re entitled to under California law if you aren’t represented by an experienced car accident lawyer like the lawyers at Nadrich & Cohen. The at fault driver’s insurance company will not offer you fair settlement amounts unless they know you can file a personal injury lawsuit against them and win the lawsuit. They know you can’t win a lawsuit without a lawyer, so if you don’t have a lawyer, they will simply low ball you and dare you to sue them.
You should hire a car accident lawyer since car accident lawyers can force insurance companies to offer you fair compensation by threatening or filing a lawsuit. Lawyers can navigate the legal process for you, negotiate for you with insurance companies to get you the best deal possible, give you the peace of mind that your case is in experienced, capable hands, and give you the best odds of securing the maximum compensation possible for your injuries. In addition, insurance adjusters will try to trick you into incriminating yourself on recorded phone calls – lawyers can handle all communications with insurance companies for you so you don’t have to worry about this.
Factors That Impact Car Accident Lawyer Fees
Many factors can impact the fees that a lawyer will charge you to handle your car accident case, including:
The Settlement Amount
The biggest factor in determining the fees charged in a car accident case will be the settlement amount. As an example, if your case ends up settling for $200,000 and your lawyer charges a 33 percent contingency fee, your lawyer will receive $66,000.
If your car accident case ends up in court and you win a $1,000,000 award, that same 33 percent fee would lead to your lawyer receiving $330,000.
The size of settlements will usually mostly depend on the severity of the injuries suffered. Cases involving serious injuries like back and neck injuries will usually be worth more than cases involving minor injuries.
Your Lawyer’s Reputation
The experience and reputation of your lawyer may affect the fees they charged. Highly-regarded, well-established attorneys might charge higher percentages because of their established track record of court victories and successful settlements.
The fee can be affected by how complex your case is. The contingency fee might be higher if your case requires substantial resources and time, expert witnesses and extensive investigation.
The increase in fee percentage is intended to make sure the lawyer is compensated for any additional risk and work they face while pursuing your case.
Whether Your Case Goes To Trial
Contingency fees are commonly raised when cases go to trial. Trials need extra time spent in court and extra preparation, and the risk of not recovering compensation is greater when a case goes to trial.
Expenses and costs aren’t technically a part of contingency fees. However, they impact how much money you’ll receive from an award or settlement. These may include expert witness fees, court fees, the costs to obtain medical records, etc. Some lawyers will deduct costs like these from settlements before contingency fees are calculated, while other lawyers calculate fees first and deduct costs later.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Percentage Do Most Injury Lawyers Take?
Most personal injury lawyers, such as car accident lawyers like Nadrich & Cohen, charge between 33 and 40 percent of any compensation recovered for the client.
How Do You Calculate Pain And Suffering?
Pain and suffering is sometimes calculated by multiplying monetary damages by figures between 1 and 5. Higher numbers are used for those who suffer more severe injuries.
Sometimes pain and suffering is calculated by assigning specific amounts of money to every day that your injuries have caused you to suffer.
There isn’t a perfect way to calculate pain and suffering, but you can work with experienced car accident lawyers like Nadrich & Cohen to come up with a dollar amount which will make you feel complete after your traumatic experience.
How Much Do Personal Injury Lawyers Charge In California?
Personal injury lawyers in California usually charge between 33 and 40 percent of any settlement or court award recovered for their clients.
How Long After A Settlement Do I Get Paid In California?
You will typically receive a settlement payment within around six weeks of a signed release being received by the at-fault party. Releases are where you accept settlement offers in exchange for the promise of not continuing or pursuing legal action. However, some issues, like bank delays or holidays, weekends, insurance company delays or policies, medical liens, and subrogation payments to programs like Medicaid or Medicare can delay your receipt of the payment.
Contact A Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a car accident, motorcycle accident or truck accident, contact the experienced car accident attorneys at Nadrich & Cohen today for a free consultation. Don’t hesitate – there’s a time limit to file claims in California. We operate on a contingency fee basis so you’ll never owe us any out-of-pocket money.
We have been handling car accident cases since 1990 and have recovered in excess of $400,000,000 for clients. Call us today so we can put our experience to work for you and fight to recover the justice and compensation you deserve.