HOW MUCH DO CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS CHARGE?
After being in an accident, out-of-pocket costs can add up very quickly. Between unplanned medical bills, prescription costs, and missed time from work, the financial burdens of being in a car accident that you did not cause can quickly overwhelm you. Thankfully, most attorneys who represent you in a car accident do not charge you an upfront retainer fee tracked by hourly rates; instead, they charge you a contingency fee.
With a contingency fee, the attorney only makes a recovery once he/she makes a recovery in your case. The contingency fee typically ranges from 33%-45%. This percentage range is dependent on when your case settles. Most commonly an attorney will charge a fee of somewhere between 33%-36% if he/she can resolve your claim without having to file a lawsuit with 33% representing the most common rate in Georgia. Once an attorney has filed a lawsuit, this contingency fee increases to somewhere between 40%-45%. Attorneys can oftentimes adjust their rates after filing a lawsuit based upon whether their cases make it all the way to trial or settle beforehand. Generally speaking, the only other instance for which the rates may increase is in a case where a verdict gets appealed.
It is always important to remember that this contingency fee is based upon the gross settlement amount. For example, if your attorney manages to settle your case before filing a lawsuit for $15,000.00, then his/her attorney’s fee would equal $5,000.00 (presuming a 33% contract).
Another important aspect to remember are your expenses. An attorney must spend money to obtain the evidence he/she needs to effectively and efficiently maximize your recovery. Such evidence includes medical records, medical bills, expert testimony, medical narratives, reports, depositions, and transcripts. These expenses typically get passed on to you the client, so it is important to ask when these expenses come due. Our office charges these on the back end rather than requesting file expense fees upfront or throughout the case.
Most attorneys will simply deduct this from your settlement. Using the same example as above, if your attorney settles your case for $15,000.00 presuit on a 33% contract and he/she accrues $1,000.00 in expenses, then you would be left with $9,000.00. Keep in mind that from that $9,000.00 left over, you may still have medical bills that need to be paid out.
Understanding how these fees and expenses work play a major role in effectively deciding when to settle your case. While an overall settlement can increase when you file a lawsuit, you must also be aware that the attorney fees also increase when this occurs, and as such, you must factor this into your decision-making process. Likewise, just to file a lawsuit and serve the defendant can tack on an additional $250-$350 in expenses. Therefore, you need to factor in all these additional costs and time when deciding whether to file a lawsuit or settle with the insurance company.
When deciding whether to hire an attorney and which attorney to hire, always ask about his/her rates and whether expenses are due upon receipt or held until the resolution of your case. Also, make certain to do in-depth research before hiring your attorney. While the rate that one attorney may charge certainly can play a huge role in your decision of whom to hire, you also need to look at each attorney’s age, experience, and results; you also should consider whether this attorney’s sole practice area is in car accident cases or if he/she has other practice areas (such as family law, criminal law, etc.). Attorneys who only handle a couple of practice areas tend to have a more extensive knowledge of the law in that practice area and may typically have greater case resolutions. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us here at the Larrison Law Firm.
Your Health Comes First
At our law firm, nothing is more important than your health and well-being. After an accident that causes serious injury, it is important that you get the medical attention you need to recover. Do not put off seeking treatment after an accident. As you begin your recovery, we will assess your situation and review your insurance policy to determine if MedPay can cover some or all of your medical expenses. If it does not, we will help you determine your options.
Never Settling Until You Are Ready
At our law firm, we are focused on doing what is right for you. We will never push you into a resolution that you are not comfortable with or recommend that you settle your case before you are ready. We want what is best for you and will do everything in our power to achieve it.
At Our Firm, Your First Consultation Is Free
We would like to speak with you about your injuries. Schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys by calling 770-554-8100. You may also get in touch with us online.