The cost of a car accident attorney varies depending on several factors. First, lawyers utilize various types of fee arrangements, so the calculation that one attorney uses can be vastly different from the fee calculation of another. In some arrangements, the attorney is only paid if you win you case, where payment is based on a percentage of your award. Administrative costs and filing fees must also be considered when addressing the total cost of your case.
It is rare, but your accident lawyer may charge a flat fee for your case. This occurs when the attorney determines a set fee for your case. This fee does not take into consideration whether or not your case is successful or how much money you receive as compensation. For example, if your attorney charges a flat fee of $5,000, you will be responsible for this fee regardless of your case outcome. Your attorney may allow you to pay the flat fee in installments or half at the outset of the case and half at the end of the case.
Another option is an hourly fee arrangement. Your attorney will likely request a retainer deposit. These funds are placed in a trust account and the attorney draws from it as work is completed. If the balance in your trust account diminishes, the lawyer can request an additional deposit.
The most common type of personal injury compensation is a contingent fee arrangement. These fees can range from 25% to 40%, but the standard percentage is 33.33%. This means that if your case settles for $30,000, your attorney’s compensation will equal $10,000. Contingent arrangements may also depend on the status of your case. In the example above, the 33.33% fee is based on a settlement offer. However, if your case progresses to court appearances and a finding by he judge or jury, your attorney’s compensation may increase to 40%.
It’s important to note that though these percentages may seem high, your attorney gets nothing if your case is lost and no compensation is secured. So, attorneys take a large financial chance when taking on a contingent fee case.
There are numerous costs involved in pursuing a personal injury case, including:
- Court filing fees;
- Service of complaints, summonses and subpoenas;
- Obtaining medical records;
- Obtaining police records;
- Expert witness fees; and
- Court reporter fees for depositions.
Your attorney may require a retainer deposit to pay these fees as they become necessary. Another option is for the attorney to handle the upfront costs and recover them from any damage award. In this situation, your attorney will take the cots from the award amount in addition to the compensation fee. In this arrangement, your attorney is responsible for the total costs if your case is not successful.
A Charlotte personal injury lawyer’s representation is extremely valuable. According to a report by the Insurance Research Council, claimants represented by counsel receive settlements that are an average of three and a half times larger than those received by unrepresented claimants.