While it only takes an instant for a reckless driver to hit your vehicle, dealing with the damage or injury from the accident will take much longer. Having a car accident attorney assisting you will make it easier to secure the settlement you deserve. However, if you’ve never hired a lawyer, you may be concerned about how to pay for their services. Here’s what you need to know about hiring an attorney in Cameron or Buffalo, TX.
How Much of Your Settlement Does a Car Accident Attorney Keep?
If you’ve been in an accident and need to file a claim against the at-fault party, working with a lawyer will simplify the process and could help you receive a more lucrative settlement. Unfortunately, sometimes accident victims are hesitant to hire a lawyer because they are worried about how they will pay the lawyer’s fees.
This concern is unnecessary since most car accident lawyers charge a contingency fee of 33-40% of your settlement. Working on contingency means they will only receive the money once they have settled your case.
FAQ: Contingency Fees
What Is a Contingency Fee?
A contingency fee is a method of paying your attorney where you are only responsible for paying them if you receive compensation for your claim or lawsuit. When your lawyer charges a contingency fee, their payment is “contingent” on you being awarded at least some compensation. Several factors determine the exact percentage of the settlement your lawyer will receive.
The first is how complex your case is and if there is any risk involved. The second is who pays for litigation expenses and when.
Complexity and Risk
If a case requires excessive legwork or research, your lawyer may request a percentage at the higher end of the normal range. On the other hand, if a claim is extremely straightforward, they may accept a smaller portion of the settlement.
Every lawsuit has costs associated with it, even if your attorney is taking the case pro bono, which is the term for when a lawyer takes your case for free. Costs associated with a personal injury lawsuit include court fees, expert witness fees, and evidence collection expenses.
There can also be fees associated with obtaining evidence, such as acquiring public records and medical documents. Finally, there will likely be some unexpected incidentals, such as postage for paper filings and having documents photocopied.
When Do Lawyers Use Contingency Agreements?
When clients have limited funds but need legal help, contingency fees allow them to receive the legal representation they need. In cases where liability is uncertain, or there is a significant risk that a victim may not be eligible for a settlement, a lawyer may not be willing to take the claim on contingency. Contingency fees are typically used in civil cases, such as malpractice, personal injury, and sexual harassment.
Are Contingency Fees Ever Prohibited?
In some instances, contingency fees are forbidden. For example, professional ethics rules prohibit criminal law and family law cases since that could be seen as encouraging or approving of illegal actions or divorce. Also, in situations where personal injury cases are clear-cut, most lawyers offer clients a lower rate so they do not appear to be taking advantage of the client’s misfortune.
What Are the Benefits of Using Contingency Fees?
There are numerous reasons why a contingency payment schedule can help clients. However, most people are thankful for the benefit of no up-front fees. That means while you are dealing with bills from your accident, you will not have to strain your budget further with another expense.
Contingency fees also prevent clients from being responsible for paying an hourly rate even if their case is unsuccessful. Finally, knowing that their lawyer is motivated to secure a generous settlement to ensure they are paid for their services provides clients with confidence in their attorney during a stressful time.
Do I Owe the Attorney Anything if a Settlement Isn’t reached?
If a settlement isn’t reached because your claim escalates to a trial, where you are awarded compensation, your lawyer is entitled to their agreed-upon percentage. If you get paid, they get paid too, whether the payment comes from a settlement or a court’s decision.
No matter what, certain costs accompany a claim, such as filing fees, and you will be responsible for those. Other expenses will be at your discretion, such as hiring a private investigator, but if you opt to use one, you will be responsible for paying them.
What to Look for in a Lawyer
Now that you know you can afford legal representation, you’ll want to make sure you hire a skilled attorney. Here are some important qualities to look for in a car accident attorney:
A knowledgeable lawyer will be able to explain complex legal topics to you in a way that makes sense. In addition, they will be transparent about their fees, ethics, and process. You should not feel as if they are being cagey or evading your questions.
A Compatible Personality
When it comes to finding an attorney, there isn’t a specific personality type you should try to find. Instead, you should focus on finding a lawyer whose personality is compatible with yours. If you choose a lawyer you don’t feel comfortable with, you may find yourself failing to ask them essential questions due to nerves or becoming stressed over your meetings instead of feeling reassured.
References on Requests
When deciding which lawyer you would like to hire to handle your claim, be sure to ask them for a list of references. Any trustworthy lawyer will have previous clients available who you can contact to confirm your attorney’s reputation.
Experience in Court
While most personal injury and accident cases will be settled out of court, you’ll want to know your lawyer is prepared to take your case to court. If you and the at-fault party’s insurance company can’t agree on a settlement, you’ll need your lawyer to be confident and experienced in the courtroom. Plus, when you work with an attorney with a reputation for success in the courtroom, insurers will be inclined to pay a large settlement to avoid facing your lawyer before a judge.
Occasionally you’ll run across a lawyer who advertises themselves as a jack of all trades. Avoid working with a lawyer who dabbles in all areas of the law and instead choose one who is familiar with the ins and outs of personal injury law and car accident claims.
You can hire the best lawyer in the business, but if you can’t reach them, you’ll end up unhappy with your decision. A lawyer who is too busy to take your calls is a lawyer who is too busy to give your claim the care it deserves.
A Free Consultation
Most personal injury and accident lawyers offer free consultations designed for you to decide if you would like to work with them or not. This consultation benefits you and the lawyer, as it lets you get a sense of the lawyer’s personality and experience and lets the lawyer see if they wish to handle your claim.
Find a Seasoned Lawyer in Cameron and Buffalo, TX
Don’t settle for less money than you need to pay for the damage caused by the accident. When you hire an attorney who is working on a contingency basis, they will do everything in their power to get you a solid payoff since their payout depends on it as well.
Work with a lawyer who will give your case the attention it requires to be successful. Contact Brian C. Gutierrez, accident and injury lawyer, today.