When a car accident occurs, most victims resort to taking matters into their own hands rather than seeking legal advice from an accident lawyer, mainly avoiding the attorney fee. Also, attorney fees vary from one lawyer to another, making the decision even harder to make.
While it’s true that personal injury lawyers don’t charge the same fees, most follow a more or less similar fee structure, called the contingency fee basis. To get an answer to the frequent question “how much do accident lawyers charge?” Continue reading for an overview.
How Contingency Fees Work
In Georgia, the majority of personal injury lawyers adapt the contingency fees structure as their charging method for a given case. In essence, a contingency fee is an amount of money that you pay your personal injury lawyer only if they win your case. While that in itself is assuring, let’s further explore why this fee structure is ideal.
No Upfront Payment
For starters, a car accident can be traumatizing enough on its own. Worrying about a lawyer’s fee will only add to the stress, which is why many avoid legal advice altogether. Well, in the case of a contingency fee, you won’t have to pay any deposits or upfront payments, minimizing your stress and enabling you to focus on the car accident case.
The idea that your personal injury lawyer won’t receive their contingency fee until the car accident case is won is a significant motive and incentive for personal injury attorneys to give the case their all. That way, you’re guaranteed that they will go the extra mile to resolve the case.
Smooth Fee Payment
In a way, the fees won’t really hurt your wallet. Once the car accident case is resolved, personal injury lawyers simply receive an agreed-upon percentage of the total settlement.
Typically, the settlement check is sent to law firms or personal injury lawyers first to deduct their fees before sending you the remaining amount of the settlement. Accordingly, you won’t really “feel” the transaction as it happens.
How Much Are Contingency Fees?
The contingency fee that lawyers in Georgia charge for car accident claims isn’t standard; it depends on the different law firms, along with their history and track records. Yet, the general norm is between 33.3% and 40% of the case settlement.
It’s also worth mentioning that the case duration is a factor that impacts the fee your accident lawyer will charge. The faster the case is settled, the lower the fee you pay your lawyer.
By fast, that refers to a case that is resolved by an insurance company without a lawsuit, or a case that goes to court but not necessarily to trial. Contrarily, if the case proceeds to trial, mediation, or even arbitration, the fee of your car accident lawyer will be towards the higher end of the range.
Do I Need to Pay Other Fees?
Sometimes, your lawyer may charge you other fees, such as court costs, filing costs, expert witness costs, photocopying fees, consultation costs, or similar. This not only depends on the lawyer but also on the case.
Therefore, make sure to ask your lawyer about whether you incur these costs, or the firm absorbs them on your behalf. Additionally, an attorney may choose to work on a retainer fee structure (requesting an amount upfront to be deducted upon receiving the contingency fee), which is another question you need to ask during your attorney consultation.
Is It Worth Getting a Car Accident Lawyer?
You may still be wondering whether you need an accident lawyer in the first place. We’re aware that a vast majority of individuals can handle the case themselves, but we really advise against it. Why so?
Firstly, a case can seem simple, yet legal matters go beyond what is visible at first sight. The smallest of details can make all the difference in the compensation you receive from your case, which is why a lawyer with first-hand experience with diverse cases is guaranteed to obtain the maximum compensation possible.
Handling Insurance Companies
You have to remember that another party is involved in the case other than you and your lawyer, and that is the insurance company representing the other person. Insurance companies are known for their extreme negotiation efforts to reduce the settlement.
That is where your lawyer will step in. By knowing your exact rights and the duties of insurance companies, a lawyer will be able to negotiate back and advocate on your behalf to obtain your full rights.
The primary reason we’ve emphasized why accident victims don’t resort to an attorney is the fear of asking the question: “how much does an attorney cost?” However, what isn’t usually considered is the possibility of money loss due to the lack of a lawyer.
You may not know it, but having a reliable lawyer can save you the loss of thousands of dollars. If you aren’t able to represent yourself competently without a lawyer’s presence, you run the risk of either not receiving compensation or receiving a subpar one.
Therefore, you may not end up saving money at all, opposite to what you may believe is the case by avoiding a lawyer’s fee.
When Should I Hire an Attorney for a Car Accident?
If you were hurt in an accident that wasn’t your fault, that’s when you should seek an attorney. At the bare minimum, you should at least schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the case, possible outcomes, and the attorney fees.
As we’ve discussed earlier, having the right attorney by your side is a hassle and risk-free experience for you through the contingency fee structure, meanwhile ensuring the attorney has your best interest at heart.
However, the golden rule is that the more serious your case, the higher your need for an attorney.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Minor Car Accident?
As you would expect, the claims and settlements vary depending on the nature of the accident. The true matter of the situation is that the more the injuries and their seriousness, the higher the settlement value you receive.
For minor accidents, you should expect around $3,000-$4,000 in settlement, in addition to the costs of your medical bills. This is mainly applicable to minor and moderate whiplashes. However, suppose you suffer from tissue or joint damage that is easily treatable or only require physical therapy. In that case, you could receive up to $10,000 and the cost of medical bills.
Next Steps: Talk to Our Lawyers for Free!
Now that you have the full picture painted out, contact us at Georgia Auto Law if you’ve been involved in an accident and would like to take your case further. We solely specialize in Georgia auto accident cases, and we’re winning cases every day.
Our case evaluation is 100% free, with no commitment required. You won’t lose anything by knowing what your settlement is worth. And should you decide to work with us, be assured that we’re fully dedicated to granting you the compensation you rightfully deserve, and our lawyers tirelessly work to make the process as smooth as possible.
You will have a dedicated team of attorneys handling your case whom you can contact anytime for updates. Even if you don’t, we always stay in touch and update you with your progress every step of the way.
Don’t hesitate to reach out and become the next member of the Georgia Auto Law family. We’re available 24/7 via text, live chat, or call us at (404) 662-4949! And since we’re speaking of fees, we promise that if we don’t win, you won’t pay a dime; no out of pocket expenses.