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Auto Accident Attorney Fees: What You Need to Know

Car accidents are stressful. Medical bills soar, your car might be totaled, and lost work adds to the burden. Engaging an attorney may seem like an additional cost you believe you can’t bear. But the truth is, a personal injury attorney can fight for the compensation you deserve to cover these costs.

We’ll explain how auto accident attorney fees work, clear up common myths, and give you the knowledge you need to make informed decisions. We’ll show you how an attorney can help you recover, not add to your stress.

How Much Do Car Accident Lawyers Charge?

Two main types of fees associated with personal injury cases exist: contingency fees and out-of-pocket expenses. Understanding these costs upfront helps avoid surprises when you receive compensation.

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Contingency Fees

Most car accident attorneys work on a contingency fee arrangement. Personal injury lawyers who work on a contingency fee basis do not charge hourly rates or hourly fees. Instead, they receive a portion of the car accident settlement or award their client gets.

The fee compensates them for their time, expertise and costs incurred during the legal process.

The Percentage

The contingency fee percentage in California is typically between 33% and 40% of the total settlement or verdict. Most attorneys will adjust their fee if the case goes to trial.

Fee Breakdown

If your case settles for $100,000, with a 33% contingency fee, your attorney would receive $33,000.

Factors Affecting Car Accident Lawyer Fees

The specific percentage of your contingency fee can vary depending on several factors:

  • Case Complexity: More complex car accident cases, involving serious injuries, extensive damages, or unclear liability, often require more time and effort from your attorney. This can lead to a slightly higher contingency fee.
  • Risk Involved: If your case involves disputed fault or complex legal issues, the attorney might request a higher fee.
  • Settlement Stage: Some lawyers offer a lower contingency fee for settlements reached before a needing to file a lawsuit. This reflects the reduced work involved compared to a full-blown court case. However, this isn’t a universal rule, and the complexity of the case can still influence the fee.

Attorney Fee Transparency is Key

If injured in a car accident, before hiring a lawyer, ensure you fully understand their fee structure. Most reputable attorneys will provide a written fee agreement. The agreement outlines the contingency percentage and any potential out-of-pocket costs. This transparency helps avoid misunderstandings later on.

No Win, No Fee Means Less Risk For You

Another benefit of working with a personal injury attorney on contingency is the “no win, no fee” policy. Typically, if your attorney fails to secure a victory in your case, you don’t have to compensate them for their work.

Additional Expenses Associated with Auto Accident Cases

In addition to the contingency fee, there might be other out-of-pocket expenses associated with your case.

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Some of the primary out-of-pocket expenses include:

  • Medical records
  • Witness fees
  • Police reports
  • Filing fees
  • Depositions
  • Trial exhibits
  • Investigators
  • Expert witnesses

In most contingency-based arrangements, your attorney pays these expenses out of their own pocket. If they win the case, they deduct these expenses from the settlement or court award.

However, some lawyers will take a different approach and demand payment for each expense as it occurs. Discussing with your attorney how they will handle these fees is wise.

How Does Switching Lawyers Affect Attorney’s Fees?

California law allows you to take control of your legal representation. This means you have the freedom to select a lawyer who:

  • Shares your values
  • Communicates effectively
  • Prioritizes your needs

Imagine having a lawyer who often fails to return your calls. They also neglect to tell you about key updates in your case or dismiss your concerns.

If you’re unhappy with your current lawyer, you can switch to a new one at any point during your case.

Changing lawyers will not have an impact on your financial situation. If you decide to switch lawyers, you won’t be burdened with separate fees for both attorneys.

Instead, they will split the total fee once your case is settled. This ensures you don’t pay more than necessary for the legal help you deserve. This provision protects your rights. It gives you the flexibility to find the best lawyer for your case.

Discuss Money Distribution with Your Lawyer

Talk to your lawyer about how you’ll receive your settlement money. In most cases, after winning your injury claim, the insurance company of the responsible party will send the settlement check directly to your attorney’s firm.

This money is then securely held in a special account called a client trust account.

Once your attorney deducts their agreed-upon fees and any expenses they covered on your behalf, they’ll distribute the remaining amount to you.

Focus on Value, Not Just Cost

Remember, a skilled car accident lawyer can recover significantly more compensation than you could on your own. This increased recovery can easily outweigh the attorney’s fees.

Some car accident victims mistakenly shop around for the attorney with the lowest fee. When choosing an attorney, consider their experience, track record, and their ability to effectively represent you.

Recommended Reading: How to Choose the Right Personal Injury Lawyer.

Contact California’s Top Personal Injury Attorneys

El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers has been assisting Californians with challenging injury claims for more than 20 years.

Our experienced team of attorneys and support staff are committed to fighting for the compensation you deserve.

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Here’s what sets us apart:

  • Trusted Experience: We have a long history of success in handling personal injury cases.
  • Proven Results: We’ve secured over $75 million in settlements and verdicts for our clients.
  • Clear Communication: We keep you informed throughout the process, so you can focus on healing.
  • No Win, No Charge: We don’t collect payment unless we secure a victory in your case.

About El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers

We are an award-winning personal injury law firm with offices in Los Angeles, Torrance and Huntington Beach. Our focus is on representing injured victims in personal injury cases throughout California.

Contact us today at (888) 543-9414 for a free, no-obligation consultation. Let us fight for the justice and compensation you deserve. With El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers, you’re not just another case; you’re our top priority. Act now and reclaim your peace of mind!