Did another driver hit your vehicle recently? Then you may have serious car accident injuries that leave you facing medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. Hiring a car accident lawyer is the best move for most people in this situation to get the money necessary to get back on your feet.
However, how much does a lawyer cost for a car accident? Is it worth hiring an attorney? Learn all about car accident attorney costs in this article, and contact a car accident attorney near you for a free consultation and case evaluation today.
How You Seek Compensation In A Car Accident Case
After a car accident due to the negligence of another party, there are usually two ways you can receive compensation.
First, you can take a settlement from the negligent driver’s insurance company to compensate you for property damage, medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. Or, if the insurance company doesn’t offer a fair settlement, you can take the case to court and have a jury decide if you deserve damages and, if so, how much.
An experienced car accident attorney can be an invaluable resource for settlement negotiations and pursuing a case in court.
Unfortunately, many people fail to hire a lawyer out of concern for the cost of legal fees. However, this is a misplaced concern as injured car accident victims never pay any legal fees out of their own pockets.
Lawyer Contingency Fee Overview
Some car accident victims might initially hesitate to hire a car accident attorney. After all, how can you afford an attorney when you are out of work with unpaid medical bills?
But in almost all car accident cases, injury attorneys charge clients on a contingency fee basis.
Under a contingency fee agreement for a car accident claim:
- Lawyers will evaluate your case and answer your questions at no cost
- If you hire a law firm, they will begin representation with no upfront fees or retainers
- The law firm will front any expenses necessary to pursue your claim
- If your attorney obtains compensation for you, they will receive a percentage of your settlement or award
- If you do not win compensation, you pay no legal fees for your lawyer’s work
You have likely heard or seen ads for lawyers that say, “No win, no fee.” This refers to contingency fees, which is the traditional way injury attorneys charge fees. The crash victim does not pay legal fees unless their attorney secures a settlement or verdict award. If the case is successful, the legal fees come directly from the funds you receive.
All of this means you need no money to pay a lawyer from your bank account. Even if you have overwhelming financial concerns, a car accident attorney will help you. The system allows injury victims to always afford an attorney, even in a difficult financial time.
Most Chicago personal injury law firms use contingency fees, but the specifics of their fee structure can vary from firm to firm. As you talk to car accident attorneys who may take your case, ask about their fee structure. Ensure you understand how it works before you sign a representation agreement.
There should be no guesswork regarding your car accident attorney’s fees. They should be transparent and fully explain how much you will pay in fees and when.
Additional Car Accident Lawsuit Costs
Most car accident attorneys charge a contingency fee, but other costs are necessary to negotiate a settlement or litigate a car accident claim.
Additional legal expenses may include:
- Fees for expert witnesses
- Court filing costs
- Court reporter costs
- Costs of obtaining police reports and medical reports
As an injured car accident victim, you might not have the money to cover these expenses. This does not prevent you from seeking compensation.
Many car accident law firms will cover these costs during the case and get reimbursement for your expenses from the settlement or award. Understanding your attorney’s policy regarding expenses before agreeing to have them represent you is crucial.
Your medical providers must also receive payment after the case settles, or you get a verdict award. You might have received costly medical treatment with your bills on pause due to your pending car accident claim. Any medical providers with liens for unpaid treatment costs will collect their money from your settlement.
How Much Can You Get in a Car Accident Settlement?
Now that you understand more about contingency fees, it is essential to understand what you might get in a car accident settlement. The more money your attorney gets you, the more money in your pocket and the higher the contingency fee. Getting a higher settlement benefits everyone, but how much can you expect?
Car accident settlements and verdicts vary tremendously based on the location, injuries, the judge, the court, the attorneys involved, and more.
What Determines the Car Accident Settlement Amount?
Everyone wants more cash in their settlement after an accident, so what factors does your lawyer consider? Generally, people with serious car accident injuries get the highest settlements. This is because they have greater damages, including hospital stays, surgeries, and rehabilitation expenses. They also have more time out of work and more pain and suffering.
You can be off work for months in a severe car accident with catastrophic injuries, so your settlement can naturally be higher. You also can get more money if your doctor testifies that you have excruciating pain and mental anguish from your injuries.
Also, a severe car accident can leave you with PTSD and other mental health issues that affect your ability to enjoy life. If your mental health therapist states that your accident injuries affect your ability to enjoy life, you can get more money in a settlement or award.
No matter how serious your injuries, you deserve compensation from at-fault parties for your losses. Never assume your injury is too minor or serious to pursue compensation with legal help.
Won’t You Receive Less After Paying Legal Fees?
Many people believe that hiring a lawyer will leave them with less money in the end. This is simply not true because the right car accident attorney can significantly increase the compensation you receive.
- The initial offer from the insurance company is $30,000
- When you hire a car accident lawyer, they negotiate a settlement of $150,000
- Even after paying their legal fees, you still take home much more than the initial offer
The idea that hiring a lawyer and paying legal fees costs you money is false. In most cases, accident victims only benefit greatly from legal help.
In some cases, having a car accident attorney can help increase your overall recovery in other ways. If you have serious injuries, you might need extensive medical treatment and require rest. Some injuries, like brain injuries, require both mental and physical rest for some time to heal.
If you try to handle a car accident claim on your own, it can worsen your mental and physical condition. If you put the stress of a claim in your lawyer’s hands, you can focus on your treatment and physical recovery, possibly improving your prognosis.
What if the Insurance Company Does Not Offer a Fair Settlement?
Many insurance companies want to settle car accident lawsuits so they do not have to risk going to trial, and having a jury gives you a lot more money. Your car accident attorney will work hard to settle the case so you get the most money quickly, and they get their contingency fee.
But sometimes, the insurance company doesn’t want to offer what you and your attorney want. If that happens, you have a few options. First, you can simply take what they offer. The next step is usually to go to mediation.
Mediation involves meeting with insurance company representatives in front of a mediator. Your attorney is present, as well. The mediator will listen to each side and try to get you to reach an agreement.
If mediation works out, you might get the full compensation you need and avoid a trial. But if things don’t go well, you may need to take the case to a jury. Your attorney will give their best advice if they think you can get more by going to trial.
Can You Trust Online Settlement Calculators?
Online settlement calculators might seem like helpful and exciting tools, but they do not consider many factors influencing how much money you receive. Never rely on online settlement calculators to make your insurance demand. Your attorney is hands-down the best resource to gauge what your case is worth.
How Do You Get a Car Accident Settlement?
How you get money after the case is over depends on the situation. The liable insurance company will often write you a check for the settlement amount after you sign the liability release.
The payment usually goes directly to your attorney’s law firm, and they take their contingency fee from it. They will deduct their legal fees and expenses and ensure your medical liens are fulfilled. Then, you receive the rest. You can have the money direct-deposited into your account, or you can receive a check.
Is a Car Accident Settlement Taxable?
Generally, the IRS does not tax a settlement that covers physical injuries or sickness. However, if you claimed medical expense deductions from the injury the previous year, it can affect your tax situation, so talk to your tax advisor.
Speak to a Car Accident Lawyer Today
After a car accident, ask for legal and financial help. You may think you should just take what you can get from the other driver’s insurance company. But what they offer you is probably far less than you can get by hiring a car accident attorney.
Some people consider just taking whatever they can instead of finding a lawyer to represent them. After all, if another driver hits and injures you, medical bills might pile up on your kitchen table. You cannot work, so paying your regular bills is difficult.
In this situation, a quick settlement will likely leave you with significant liability. If you seek legal help from one of many best personal injury law firms in Chicago area and allow their attorney to negotiate and work their magic with insurance companies, you will often obtain much more than the initial offer.
Hiring a car accident lawyer to obtain compensation for your injuries makes the most financial sense. Please contact a car accident attorney today for a no-cost consultation.