Most accident lawyers, also known as personal injury lawyers, work on what’s known as a contingency fee. When a lawyer works on contingency, they do not charge the client a fee unless the lawyer wins them money. Then, the lawyer’s fees are simply taken as a percentage of the client’s settlement or award.
So, what fee percentage do accident lawyers take? It can vary slightly depending on the lawyer and the details of your case. Let’s look at the details.
Average Contingency Fee Percentages for Accident Lawyers
In most cases, an accident lawyer will take 33%—or one-third—of the settlement or award they win for you. However, some lawyers may take a slightly higher fee. The range is usually somewhere between a 33% and 40% contingency fee.
Let’s look at an example:
- You were in a serious car accident caused by another driver. You file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to seek compensation for your damages.
- Your hire an accident lawyer to help with your case, and they take a 33% contingency fee.
- Through negotiation, your lawyer is able to get you a $90,000 settlement offer.
- After you accept the offer, your lawyer would deduct $30,000 from your settlement (which is 33%) and you receive the remaining $60,000.
You’ll want to get very clear on how your lawyer’s fee structure looks before working with them. Thankfully, many accident lawyers will offer a free consultation where you can discuss the details and get you to know them. To schedule a FREE consultation with one of our experienced lawyers at John Foy & Associates today, call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.
The Fee Percentage Might Depend on When Your Case is Resolved
A lawyer’s contingency fee might also be higher if they work on your case at a higher stage:
- For example, if your case gets resolved during negotiation with the insurance company, the fee will typically be the standard 33%.
- However, if your case progresses and you reach a settlement after filing a lawsuit, a lawyer may charge a higher fee, closer to 40%.
- In some cases, the contingency fee might be slightly higher if your case goes all the way to trial.
These fees will be something to discuss with your lawyer during the initial consultation. Although the higher fees might seem steep, the higher up a case progresses, the more time your lawyer will put in attempting to win you the money you deserve. Although they would get a larger fee percentage if you are awarded money in court, your award is likely to be a lot higher too.
Other Costs Related to Accident Cases
There are various expenses associated with the personal injury case process. As your lawyer investigates and gathers information for your accident case, they may experience costs for elements like:
- Copies of police reports
- Copies of medical records
- Court filing fees
- Expert witness fees
- Postage costs
- Hiring experts and investigators
- Obtaining transcripts
- Deposition fees
- Exhibits at trial
You will probably not need to worry about these costs as they’re happening. Most accident lawyers will cover the immediate costs and simply deduct them from your settlement or award after your case has been closed.
The longer your case goes on—and the closer it gets to trial—the higher the chance of larger costs and expenses. It’s good to keep in regular contact with your lawyer so you’re aware of these costs.
Also, keep in mind that if you fire your lawyer or switch between lawyers during the course of your case, your first lawyer will likely have a lien for costs that accumulated as they worked on your case.
How You and Your Lawyer Get Paid
It’s a happy day when you and your lawyer are able to reach a fair settlement with the insurance company. Your next question might then be, “How do I get my money?”
In most cases, your lawyer will actually receive the settlement check directly. This ensures they get paid before you receive the rest of your settlement. Your lawyer will deduct their contingency fee as well as any other costs or expenses from the settlement check amount. You’ll be able to get an itemized list that explains each fee and its costs.
If the deducted fees make sense to you, your lawyer will usually send you a check with the remaining balance. If you disagree with certain charges, the money you have disputed may be held in a separate account until you reach an agreement.
What to Ask Your Accident Lawyer About Their Fees
Every lawyer or law firm handles fees a little differently, even if they all work on contingency. This is why it’s so important to schedule a consultation and ask questions. You’ll want to get clear on how the lawyer handles:
- Any upfront costs
- The contingency fee percentage
- A different fee structure (if they work on a flat fee or hourly fee instead)
- Separately-charged expenses
- Additional fees for going to trial
- Other situations that may come about as you work together
These details are important to understand because while one lawyer might seem to be more expensive, they might have a higher contingency fee but absorb some additional fees. They might also have a higher fee because they have a better reputation and therefore provide a better chance of full compensation.
If a lawyer has an unusually low fee, it might mean there are other “hidden” fees or that they don’t have much experience working on your type of accident case. Always ask questions and make sure you are working with someone who has a good reputation and a long-standing track record of success.
Talk to a Georgia Truck Accident Lawyer for Free Today
At John Foy & Associates, we have been helping accident victims win the money they need and deserve for over 20 years. We work exclusively for injury victims—never for insurance companies—and we know what it takes to win cases. To discuss the details of your case, how we work, and how we can help you, contact us today for a FREE, no-risk consultation.
Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online now to get started with your FREE consultation.