Experiencing a car accident can be a traumatic event filled with confusion and uncertainty. While dealing with physical injuries and emotional distress, you also have to navigate insurance claims or even potential litigation.
At this point, it’s normal to wonder about the costs of obtaining legal help. It’s essential to understand that while hiring an attorney comes with associated fees, it could greatly increase your chances for receiving proper compensation.
Most personal injury lawyers operate under a contingency fee agreement. This is a payment arrangement between a lawyer and client where the lawyer’s compensation is dependent on winning the client’s case. In other words, if you don’t win your legal battle—in either settlement or trial—there’s no attorney’s fee.
This agreement directly aligns your interests with those of your lawyer because their compensation hinges upon obtaining a favorable outcome in your case. The more they win for you, the more they get paid.
If a lawyer agrees to represent you on a contingency fee basis, it typically means they believe your case is strong enough to win.
Contingency fee percentages vary based on various factors, but typically they fall between 30% to 40% of the total recovery amount. The exact percentage may vary depending on:
Stage of Resolution: Often a lawyer will structure their contingency fees based on the stage at which your case resolves. For example, cases settled before filing a lawsuit or going to trial could be charged less—say around 25%. But if it moves into more complex stages like litigation, the percentage might increase to 35% because it involves additional work and expenses.
Complexity of Case: If your case is more complicated requiring special expertise or longer hours due to its facts and legal issues involved, an attorney may charge at the higher end – 40%.
Average Rate In Your Area: Geographical location can play a role in determining these rates too.
These percentages are negotiable so always discuss the rate with your lawyer before signing anything.
While contingency fee models eliminate upfront costs, you should remember there may also be other expenses associated with your case.
Court Costs: Filing a lawsuit incurs charges like court filing fees and expenses for serving summonses or subpoenas.
Discovery Expenses: This might involve costs linked to depositions, expert witnesses, document preparation, or even travel depending on the needs of the situation.
Administrative Fees: These fees could be related to things like postage, copying documents, or courier services – essentially any small yet necessary task aiding in the attorney’s preparations.
It’s critical to understand that your attorney will likely deduct their agreed-upon percentage and these extra costs from any final award or settlement received. This means you receive what remains after all applicable deductions.
While the lawyer won’t charge a fee for their time in unsuccessful cases under contingency agreements, sometimes the agreement requires you to bear these additional case-related expenses even if you lose your claim.
At Hastings & Hastings, we march to the beat of a different drum when it comes to legal fees. Notoriously operating on a discounted fee structure, you will never see us charge 33% or more in contingency fees. We firmly believe that more money should remain in your pocket after resolving your case.
This does not mean we skimp on the quality of representation. Our commitment to service and excellence has been unwavering for over 40 years and that’s visibly demonstrated in our successful history of serving thousands of Arizonans.
If we don’t win your case, you don’t owe us a dime. Not for attorney fees and definitely not any other potential costs. When we say “no win, no fee,” we mean it.
While hiring a car accident attorney can seem costly up front, having an experienced professional on your side almost always yields better outcomes in the long run. If you need help with any type of personal injury case, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.