How Much Does a Car Accident Lawyer Cost?

personal injury lawyer

After you have been injured in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you might have the right to pursue a claim to recover compensation for your expenses and losses. If you’re considering hiring an attorney to help you with your claim, you might be concerned about how much a car accident lawyer might cost. Before you speak to an attorney about your claim, you should familiarize yourself with how compensation arrangements in car accident claims work.

When you have more questions about how much it will cost to hire a car accident lawyer to help you recover compensation after a car crash, reach out to Finz & Finz, P.C. for a free initial case review. You’ll talk with a New York City car accident lawyer from our legal team, and we can review your options for getting the financial recovery you need for your expenses and losses.

How Are Lawyers Paid?

Attorneys may use one of several different kinds of fee arrangements when a client hires them, including:

  • Contingency fee. In this arrangement, a lawyer is only paid if they secure a financial recovery on behalf of the client. The lawyer receives a percentage of the total recovery they obtain for their client.
  • Contingency fee with a retainer. In this fee arrangement, the lawyer requires money upfront to begin representation. That retainer is deducted from the lawyer’s total fee if they obtain compensation for the client.
  • Flat fee. The lawyer charges a set amount to work on a case or a specific legal task in this fee arrangement.
  • Hourly fees. When a lawyer works on this basis, they are paid based on the amount of time they spend working on a case multiplied by the lawyer’s hourly rate.

What Is a Contingency Fee Arrangement?

Most car accident personal injury lawyers represent their clients on a contingency fee basis. In contrast, defendants in car accident cases are usually represented by lawyers working on an hourly fee basis (although the defendant’s insurance provider typically pays such fees). Most car accident plaintiffs’ attorneys use the contingency fee arrangement so that an accident victim can pursue their legal claim without spending money upfront to hire the attorney. This may often be preferred by accident victims experiencing financial difficulties due to accident-related medical expenses, car repair bills, and lost wages or income.

In a contingency fee arrangement, the lawyer is paid a percentage of the total compensation the lawyer secures for their client through settlements or winning verdicts at trial. The percentage that the lawyer takes depends on various factors, including the geographic region where the accident occurred, the lawyer’s reputation and skill, and the amount of work the lawyer estimates will be needed for the case.

Contingency fee percentages typically range anywhere from 25 percent to 40 percent. In many cases, a contingency fee agreement will use a sliding percentage scale, where the percentage of the total recovery the lawyer receives increases as the case reaches various milestones. For example, a lawyer may take a 25 percent contingency fee if they obtain an insurance settlement without needing to file a lawsuit in court. The fee could increase to 30 percent or even to one-third of the total recovery if a lawsuit needs to be filed in the case and potentially could rise to 40 percent if the case goes to trial.

Who Pays the Costs of a Car Accident Claim?

Although contingency fee arrangements are often advertised as “you don’t pay if we don’t win,” attorneys have different arrangements to handle the costs of pursuing the client’s case. A car accident claim results in various expenses, such as:

  • Photocopying and mailing fees
  • Fees for obtaining police accident reports and medical records
  • Expert witness fees
  • Deposition fees, including hiring court reporters and transcriptions
  • Lawsuit filing fees
  • Arbitration or mediation fees if you pursue alternative dispute resolution in your case

Depending on the complexity of your case, the costs and fees can reach tens of thousands of dollars. While all car accident lawyers will usually front most or all the costs of a client’s case, each attorney differs in how they collect reimbursement for these costs. Some contingency fee arrangements will state that the lawyer is entitled to collect reimbursement for the costs of the case, after which their legal fee is then calculated. Other lawyers will roll the costs of the case into their legal fees. However, some attorneys will require you to pay some of or all the costs of your case even if the lawyer cannot successfully recover compensation for you in a settlement or trial verdict. This makes it important to carefully review the terms of any proposed fee agreement and to ask the attorney questions to ensure you understand your obligations.

Car Accident Lawyers Offer Free Consultations

Car accident lawyers almost always offer free consultations to prospective clients. These consultations typically last around an hour and provide an opportunity for the attorney to get a basic understanding of the facts of the client’s case. At the same time, the client can ask questions of the attorney to determine whether the lawyer and their law firm will be right for the client’s case. The consultation allows a prospective client to understand how the attorney’s fees work and what the client may expect to pay for each potential outcome of their claim.

Reach Out to Our Firm to Learn More about How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help with Your Case

After you have been involved in a car accident, do not leave the outcome of your claim for compensation to chance. Contact Finz & Finz, P.C. today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We can discuss how you can afford the highly experienced legal representation you need for your car accident claim. Give us a call at (855) TOP-FIRM or fill out the contact form on the Contact Us page of our website.

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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.