After a serious truck accident, you may face expensive medical bills, property damage to your vehicle, and financial hardship from missed work days. You may worry about how much it will cost to hire a truck accident lawyer on top of everything else. The good news is it costs nothing out of pocket.
While other types of lawyers charge retainers and hourly fees, those who handle accident claims don’t usually charge upfront. Most personal injury lawyers work on contingency, which means they only get paid when they win your case.
The percentage of the lawyer’s fee can vary depending on the law firm and other factors, and it comes from your final settlement or award. As an Atlanta-based truck accident law firm, we’re here to explain how contingency fees work, the average price range, and the benefits of hiring an attorney.
How Contingency Fees Work in a Truck Accident Case
Truck accident lawyers are personal injury attorneys who handle cases involving collisions with large commercial vehicles. As we mentioned, most personal injury lawyers work on what’s known as a contingency fee basis.
- There is no upfront cost to hire them.
- You do not pay for their legal services unless they win you money.
- If they win your case, their fee is simply taken as a percentage of your settlement or award.
Truck accident lawyers operate in this way because it allows you to secure legal representation without worrying about upfront costs. It also ensures that your lawyer is working with your best interests in mind. A win for them is a win for you.
At John Foy & Associates, we are a contingency fee firm, and your initial case evaluation is always free. If you’re anywhere in Georgia and need legal help after an accident, schedule a free consultation with one of our Atlanta personal injury lawyers.
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Average Contingency Fee Percentages for Truck Accident Attorneys
In most cases, a truck accident lawyer will take between 33.3% and 40% of your total settlement award as their contingency fee.
Let’s look at an example:
- You were involved in a serious collision that a truck driver caused. You file a personal injury claim with the trucking company’s insurance company to seek compensation for your damages.
- You hire a truck accident lawyer to help with your case, and they take a 33.3% contingency fee.
- Through thorough evidence collection and effective negotiation, your lawyer is able to get you a $90,000 settlement offer.
- After you accept the offer, your lawyer will deduct about $30,000 from your settlement (which is 33.3%), and you will receive the remaining $60,000.
Your lawyer’s contract will detail these fees, so this is information you can clarify before signing up. Fortunately, most truck accident cases do not have to go to court and get settled well before the need to file a lawsuit.
Other Expenses Related to Working With a Personal Injury Lawyer
Besides your lawyer’s fees, there are often other costs associated with working on your case. Most of the time, your lawyer will take on these expenses until your case is closed.
Here are some costs they may incur:
- Expert witness fees
- Investigator fees
- Copies of the police report or medical records
- Court filing fees
- Court reporter fees
- Postage costs
These expenses will usually be deducted from your settlement or award. Some lawyers deduct their fee percentage before they’ve subtracted the above expenses, while others might deduct expenses before the lawyer’s fee. These are details you’ll want to clarify with your attorney beforehand.
You’ll also want to find out if these expenses will still be your responsibility if you don’t win a settlement or award. Each lawyer will have slightly different methods for handling these details.
Hourly Fees Versus a Contingency Fee Agreement
A contingency fee arrangement also allows you to avoid the risk of being charged an hourly rate that could leave you with lawyer fees even if your case is not won or settled satisfactorily.
A contingency fee structure is much more advantageous to you than an hourly fee. However, there may be situations where a lawyer isn’t interested in taking your truck collision case on contingency, but they’re willing to do so for an hourly fee.
If you’re having trouble getting lawyers to take on your case on contingency, it might mean that the case isn’t strong enough. An experienced attorney from our firm can let you know whether you have a solid case.
Why You Should Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer
While it’s completely in your rights to represent yourself in your truck accident case, we do not recommend it. You can get away with that in minor auto accidents, such as those that only involve cosmetic damage to your vehicle. However, truck accidents are a completely different animal.
We highly recommend working with an experienced attorney because:
- Collisions with trucks often lead to severe vehicle damage, significant medical expenses, and even long-term disabilities.
- You are dealing not only with the truck driver but also with the trucking company and potentially other liable parties that will fight to reduce their liability.
- Insurance companies will look for any reason to reduce what they have to pay out on your claim, and they will use various tactics to do so.
The first settlement offer in a truck accident case is usually so small that it won’t come close to covering your costs. Attorneys understand that, in Georgia and most other states, you have the right to seek full compensation for your damages when someone is negligent in your accident (Georgia Code § 51-1-6).
In order to recover a fair settlement, you’ll need someone who knows how to build a strong insurance claim and communicate effectively with the insurance companies. Otherwise, you are at risk of having your claim denied or receiving an amount that is much less than you deserve.
Talk to a Truck Accident Lawyer About Pursuing a Settlement
At John Foy & Associates, we’ve been helping truck accident victims win the recovery they need for over 20 years. We only represent victims, never insurance companies. To discuss the details of your case and explore your legal options, contact us today for a free legal consultation.
Georgia law typically only allows you two years from the accident date to file your claim, and building that claim can take more time than you think. To get the ball rolling as soon as possible, call now or fill out the online form.