Most lawyers charge for accident claims on a contingency fee. This fee is dependent on whether or not they win your case and what percentage the lawyer takes through their agreement with you. You will need to get clear on what a lawyer charges (and how they charge) for their services before working with them.
What to Know About a Lawyer’s Contingency Fee
The “normal” contingency fee for a personal injury lawyer is typically around one-third, or 33%, of either:
- The settlement they win through a personal injury claim or
- An award they win you in court
It’s called a “contingency fee” because whether or not you pay it is contingent on whether or not the lawyer wins money for you. They will only collect their fee if they resolve the case in your favor. If they are successful, the fee will be taken as a portion of what you win.
Although the most standard contingency fee is 33%, a lawyer might set their fee anywhere between 25% and 40% of what they win for you. This number will be agreed upon before you begin working together.
Some lawyers will charge more if the case proceeds to trial and less if they settle your claim before a lawsuit is filed. If a lawsuit is filed but your lawyer still gets your case settled before going to court, they might charge the standard 33%. You’ll want to get clear on a lawyer’s fee details before working with them, so it’s smart to schedule a consultation as soon as you can.
Other Potential Costs
Although the contingency fee is the main cost that lawyers charge for accident claims, your lawyer will let you know how they handle other costs of your case.
As your lawyer works to build your case, they may come across expenses like:
- Expert witness fees
- Filing fees
- Photocopying fees
- Costs of obtaining police reports or medical records
- And more
Most lawyers will absorb these fees as they come and then simply deduct them from the final settlement amount before taking out their lawyer fee. However, you’ll want to get clear on the exact process. Make sure that you won’t be responsible for any fees or expenses if your case isn’t won.
Contingency Fees Are Only for Accident Victims
It’s also important to note that only personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee. In other words, this is only an option for accident victims who were injured because of someone else’s negligence. If you are filing an insurance claim or lawsuit against someone for damages, this includes you.
The person who was responsible for the accident is liable for the damages (Georgia Code § 51-1-6). When the injury happens during a motorcycle accident or another auto accident, the at-fault party’s insurance company will typically be the one receiving the claim or providing a lawyer to represent them in court.
Deciding if an Accident Lawyer is Worth It
If you were the victim of a motorcycle accident or another injury accident, you might wonder if it’s worth getting a lawyer to help with your case. Some injury victims will question whether or not they can handle their claim alone.
Although you have every right to file your accident claim yourself, we don’t recommend it. There are a few vital reasons for this.
Insurance Companies Make Things Difficult
From the beginning, the at-fault party’s insurance company will be looking for ways to reduce what they have to pay you. They may use tactics like:
- Offering you a very low settlement and making it seem like it’s the best you can get
- Calling you and trying to get information from you can that can be used against you later
- Asking for a recorded statement
- Trying to get you to sign an agreement before you’re ready
- Blaming you for the accident or
- Downplaying the severity of your injuries
The insurance adjuster knows that most accident victims have never had to deal with this process before. They are not afraid to use that inexperience against you and as a reason to intimidate you. However, if you have an experienced lawyer on your side, it can change the game.
Your lawyer can communicate and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. They can also make sure that the insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you. When insurance companies see that an injury victim has a lawyer, they are more likely to offer a fairer settlement offer.
Calculating Your Total Damages is Complicated
Before filing your accident claim, you’ll want to know the full extent of your personal injury damages. These may include:
- Medical bills
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy or rehabilitation
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damages and
- Pain and suffering damages
If you’re not an expert in accident claims, it can be difficult to know the entire value of your damages, especially if you are still recovering from your injuries and/or you have emotional damages. Only an experienced lawyer will know how to accurately calculate these and determine the value of your claim.
There is No Risk to Hire an Injury Lawyer
Motorcycle accident lawyers and other personal injury lawyers work on a contingency so that you don’t have to pay any fees unless they win you money. This helps keep them honest in their work for you, and it presents little risk for you to hire them.
Most injury lawyers also offer a free consultation so you can discuss your case and get to know them. This will be the time to ask about how much they charge and what their fee structure looks like. If you feel good about the consultation, it’s a good sign that you and the lawyer are a good fit for working on your accident claim.
Speak to a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for Free Today
Our lawyers at John Foy & Associates have been helping injury victims win what they deserve for more than 20 years. We always work on a contingency fee, so there is no charge unless we win you money. Plus, the consultation is always FREE.
To schedule your FREE consultation today, call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online now.