Blog

How Much Will a Car Accident Attorney Cost Me?

Financial concerns are a very real problem for many car accident victims. Medical bills can pile up at a time when the victim is unable to work, and have lost wages as a result. The last thing a car accident victim needs in the midst of these worries is a bill from an attorney. So how, exactly, does a car accident attorney get paid?

While some attorneys in other areas of law work at an hourly rate, personal injury attorney often work on a contingent fee agreement. A contingent fee means that a lawyer is not paid by the client up front. Rather, the attorney negotiates a settlement or takes a case to trial, then is paid an agreed-upon portion of the settlement or award. If the client does not recover compensation, the attorney is not paid. If the parties cannot agree on a settlement amount and the plaintiff must file a lawsuit, the attorney is often compensated at a higher percentage of an amount awarded at trial, as a result of the extra work that must be done to litigate a claim in court. Any costs which must be paid (such as a filing fee in court, records fees from medical providers, or other administrative expenses) is also paid out of the plaintiff’s award. These arrangements ensure that clients who have been injured have access to quality legal representation, regardless of their ability to pay up-front.

Other Legal Issues Which Are Handled Under Contingent Fee Agreements
Car accident victims are not the only plaintiffs who commonly use contingent fee agreements. Many local governments have been turning to contingent fee agreements to file lawsuits related to the opioid epidemic. Rhode Island Central reports that the town of Narragansett is considering a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors. The town is negotiating representation by eight separate law firms, which would share thirty percent of any total that was awarded in such a lawsuit. In Pennsylvania, Clinton County commissioners have entered into a contingent fee agreement which awards their attorneys one third of any award.

Contingent Fees Are Common in Personal Injury Law
Contingent fee agreements can be used in almost any type of personal injury case. Dog bites, medical malpractice, slip and fall cases, bad drugs, motorcycle accidents, and many other types of injuries are often represented on a contingent fee basis. Contingent fee agreements have become very common in the legal industry. As a result, state courts and bar associations have set guidelines to protect clients who agree to pay contingent fees, and these rules are enforced regularly. Clients who believe they have been unfairly charged under such an agreement can file a complaint with the state bar. The bar will investigate the complaint, offer negotiation services, and pursue any necessary action against the attorney. These procedures have become very effective at protecting personal injury victims who agree to pay their attorneys through a contingent fee agreement.

The JLF Firm helps accident victims protect their legal rights. Call (562) 418-6880 today or send us an email to schedule your free consultation.