Navigating through the lasting effects of a car accident is difficult. As many patients seek treatment for their injuries sustained in a car accident, they wonder if getting a lawyer would have helped then or made it easier. Many even wonder if they could even afford one. Below is a brief description of car accident attorney fees, and how they are calculated. If you have questions or would like to schedule a free consultation with our attorneys, call our experienced car accident attorneys at Heidari Law Group.
A car accident is known to be a personal injury case, where those injuries file a lawsuit against the liable party for damages. The party harmed and filing the lawsuit is known as the plaintiff, and the party the case is brought against is the defendant. One of the most common types of damages that many plaintiffs want to be reimbursed are medical treatment bills.
Attorneys may work for a flat fee, or for a contingency fee. Personally injury lawsuits are usually contingency fees. Contingency fees are when the fees are deducted from the amount of damages awarded to the plaintiff. This means that if the plaintiff were to lose the case and recover no damages, the attorney does not take a fee. Usually, personal injury cases end up as settlements rather than go to trial. In that case, the attorney would take a percentage from the settlement amount.
The fee can be based on either:
- A settlement between plaintiff and defendant
- A judgment from the court for the amount of damages
There is no standards set for contingency fees. In California, the average percentage of a contingency fee can range from 30%-40%. For example, if the contingency fee is 34%, and there is a settlement of $100,000 then 34% of the amount ($34,000) collected by plaintiff will go to the attorney.
Further, many attorneys determine their contingency fee with a sliding scale calculation, where the rate changes based on the settlement amount.
Our car accident attorneys at Heidari Law advise that it is best to speak with your attorney to know exactly how payment will be determined. The accident attorney handling your case should give you a clear and precise layout of how much you can expect to pay for a contingency fee.
Contingency fees are relevant only to attorneys who represent plaintiffs. For example, an attorney who is representing the driver who caused the injuries (defendant) may not seek a contingency fee from their client.
Some states require insurance policies to contain clauses that mention paying for attorney’s fees when their client is the defendant who needs to be represented. If a car insurance does not have this clause and does not offer attorney’s fees, a defendant will have to pay out of pocket with a flat hourly fee.
Personal Injury Case Costs
Car accident cases usually involve several costs. In a contingency case, the car accident attorneys would pay the costs upfront, then collect reimbursement of those costs with the contingency fee. Attorneys may also have a clause in their fee contract that states that if they don’t end up winning a lawsuit for their client, they could still collect reimbursement by the client for costs. That is why it is very important to read the fine print. Examples of costs when filing a car accident case include:
- Police reports: A Los Angeles accident report is a document created by the police immediately after an accident that provides information about the accident that occurred, along with names of parties that were involved, names of the witnesses that saw the collision, the place where the accident took place, and the injuries each party sustained. To view an article on how to pull your police report, you can view this page
- Expert witness fees: fees are paid to experts who testify in trial. These experts may include medical experts and auto collision experts.
- Investigators: oftentimes, after an accident, many car accident plaintiffs do not document any evidence. A investigator is then hired by an attorney to document and look into the cause of the accident based on the evidence.
- Exhibits: if the lawsuit ends up going to trial, each party may bring in exhibits, which can include copies of reports, or enlarged images that depict the scene of the accident and severity of the crash or plaintiff’s damages.
- Depositions: depositions can have hefty prices that plaintiffs never assume. Depositions require a court reporter to document what has been said by those who are deposed and respond to questions. For example, an average cost for a court reporter can be about $800. Each party has to pay for their own deposition costs.
Is Hiring an Accident Attorney Worth it?
If you have sustained severe injuries, and have medical costs as a result of another driver’s negligence, it is unfair of you to have to pay for your costs out of pocket. You should seek reimbursement through an attorney. Your experienced attorney will keep track of all your incurred losses so that you can be reimbursed for all the damages and pain you had to endure.
For example, if you have not yet sought any medical treatment, your attorney will advise you seek treatment immediately and refer you to well known doctors in the area to make sure you get the treatment you need for your injuries. During the legal process, your experienced car accident attorney should advise you on general practices to better the outcome of your case during this process.
Without a personal injury attorney, you would have to work directly with the insurance adjuster who would try to minimize your damages and offer a settlement as low as possible, likely not even covering your total medical bill expenses. An accident attorney fights on your behalf allowing you to focus on your recovery.
In the end, it is well worth it for you to have a knowledgeable and experienced legal ally on your side.
Oftentimes, qualified and experienced car accident attorneys, like the lawyers at Heidari Law Group, collect fees as a contingency fee for representation. If your representation cannot bring a victory to your case, you will not owe any fees. For more information, contact us today!
If you have been involved in a car accident in California or Nevada and need some assistance with navigating through the lawsuit process, our experienced car accident lawyers at Heidari Law Group will be able to assist you through every step of the legal process. Our attorneys will make sure you have all the available resources to receive fair compensation for your injuries. Our experienced attorneys are specialized in various types of car accidents, and can help get you the representation you deserve. For more information regarding our car accident attorneys, you can view our experience here.
***Disclaimer: This blog is created by Heidari Law Group for educational purposes. This article provides a general understanding of the law. It does not provide specific advice. By using this site and reading through this blog, there is no attorney-client relationship created between you and any member of Heidari Law. Further, due to the constant change of the law, some parts of the information above may no longer be good law.