What To Know About How Accident Lawyers Are Paid

Posted on: 29 March 2019

After an accident, it's only natural to place all your attention on your recovery. You might never consider taking legal action against the other driver and this is usually due to a number of factors. You might be under the mistaken impression that the insurance company will handle things. Some accident victims know they need an attorney, but think they cannot afford one. Read on to find out more about paying for the legal help you need when you are hurt in an accident that was not your fault.

How Do Accident Attorneys Charge for Their Services?

You can usually find out how an attorney expects to be paid by asking during the initial consultation or by phone. Once you've reviewed the usual methods of paying legal fees, you will want to ensure that your chosen attorney is in agreement. While the contingency fee method of payment is by far the most popular and well-known, you may encounter lawyers who prefer other methods. Take a closer look at the three most common ways to pay for your personal injury legal help.

Contingency Fee Agreements

If you've heard advertisements touting "no fee unless you win," that is probably referring to a contingency fee arrangement. It is accurate that you won't need to pay anything unless you win, but this method of paying fees requires that you have a good case that is expected to bring in enough to make it worth the attorney's time. Usually, accident victims sign an agreement with the attorney that specifies the exact percentage of the compensation that is to go to the fee. If you win a court judgment for $50,000, for example, and the agreement says that 30% goes to legal fees, your take-home will be $35,000 with $15,000 going to the attorney.

Flat Rate Fees

Some personal injury attorneys charge a certain amount to represent you in accident settlements. In some cases, you might pay a flat fee for representation during settlement negotiations and then another flat fee if the case ends up going to trial. You should expect to pay the attorney the fee upfront. Be sure to find out what the fee covers (and what it won't) before you sign the contract.

Hourly Rate Fees

You might not find a lot of personal injury attorneys charging by the hour since this practice is more common with divorce and criminal lawyers. With an hourly fee agreement, you pay a deposit (known as a retainer) upfront and then are billed for the time the attorney spends on your case. They draw from the retainer and then you must provide an additional retainer.

Speak to an attorney, such as those at Wolfe  Jones Wolfe Hancock Daniel & South LLC, to learn more.