How Do Contingency Fee Agreements Work in Car Accident Cases?

If you’ve been injured by a careless driver, you have legal rights. The best way to protect these rights is to hire an experienced accident lawyer. A qualified personal injury attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve in what Contingency Fee in Car Accident refer. 

Still, lots of people worry about hiring a car accident injury lawyer. As medical bills, car repairs, and other post-accident costs pile on, the last thing most people want to do is pay for something else. 

However, hiring a Birmingham personal injury attorney costs much less than you might think. Read on to learn more about how contingency fee agreements work in car accident cases. 

How Do Car Accident Attorneys Get Paid? 

Lawyers use many different payment methods. Some lawyers charge a flat rate. For instance, a lawyer might charge someone $500 to draft their will. Most lawyers get paid by the hour. They charge clients anywhere from $150 to $400 for each hour they work on a case.  

In an hourly arrangement, lawyers usually ask for their money upfront. This means that the client will usually give the lawyer a retainer at the first visit. A retainer is a pool of money you give the lawyer when you establish the lawyer-client relationship. After the retainer is spent, the lawyer will either send you a monthly bill or ask you to replenish your retainer. 

Like other attorneys, injury lawyers can charge by the hour. However, most car accident attorneys use something called contingency fees. 

When a lawyer agrees to a contingency fee in car accident, the client doesn’t pay upfront or give the lawyer a retainer. Instead, the lawyer’s payment depends on (or is contingent on) the lawyer winning the case. If the case doesn’t succeed, the lawyer doesn’t get paid. If you win, the lawyer takes a percentage of the settlement or verdict. For this reason, contingency fee cases are sometimes called “no win, no fee” cases. 

How Much is the Average Contingency Fee in Car Accident? 

In the average contingency fee case, a personal injury lawyer takes 33-40% of the recovery. While this may seem like a sizeable amount, there are some major benefits. 

First, contingency fees don’t require clients to pay money upfront, so they make it easier for people with limited funds to hire the personal injury attorneys they need after a car accident. 

Contingency arrangements also manage expectations because the amount won’t change even if the attorney puts in many hours of work. Also, a lawyer who won’t get paid unless they win has a powerful motivation to do their very best. 

Overall, a contingency fee arrangement is a good choice for most people looking to hire an Alabama injury attorney after a car accident.  

What Factors Can Affect the Amount of a Lawyer’s Contingency Fee? 

Contingency fees can vary from case to case. Some of the factors that can affect whether the attorney’s percentage is higher or lower include: 

  • The complexity of the case (e.g., multiple vehicles, trucking accidents, or complex legal issues) 
  • The severity of the injuries
  • Whether the case settles or goes to trial. 

Generally, cases that are complex, involve severe injuries, or are likely to go to trial earn a higher percentage than those that are less involved. 

Do Contingency Fee in Car Accident Agreements Cover Case Expenses? 

In law, there is a difference between fees and costs. Fees are the money a lawyer gets for their work. Costs are things that the lawyer needs to pay for to make the case happen. Costs include expenses associated with things such as:

  • Court filings,
  • Service of process, 
  • Expert witnesses, 
  • Accident investigation, 
  • Depositions and other discovery needs, 
  • Photocopying, and 
  • Exhibit preparation (e.g., enlarged photos, models, etc.).

Some lawyers require you to pay these costs as they arise, but most do not. Generally, if you win your case, the lawyer will deduct any costs after taking their percentage. But when a case doesn’t prevail, lawyers take different approaches. Some simply “eat” the cost. Others will expect you to pay for expenses despite the loss. The possibility of paying costs is serious, so during the first meeting and at every step, be clear about what the contingency agreement says about costs and expenses.

Will a Contingency Fee Arrangement Help Me?

Overall, most injured people benefit from contingency arrangements. If you’ve been injured and have questions about how contingency fee in car accident agreements work or anything else related to your accident, please do not hesitate to contact Collins Law, LLC. Our firm is committed to charging fair fees that help our clients maximize their recovery. We keep our costs low for the same reason. At Collins Law, we’re not in it for the money. We’re here to help. If you think our firm can help you, call 205-588-1411 or use our website’s online scheduling tool to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.