In 2021, there were over 1500 car accidents in Tulsa. In the aftermath of a car accident, the prospect of dealing with insurance companies to claim for damages can be overwhelming, especially when recovering from injuries. A car accident victim may be eligible for costs from medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. Claiming these costs – and obtaining the maximum settlement under the law – is far more likely to be successful with the help of a lawyer. However, even the prospect of hiring a lawyer can be intimidating for a car accident victim in spite of the benefits of a professional handling their case. Will hiring a lawyer require a lot of fees up front? Is a car accident lawyer affordable? How much will it all cost?
Every car accident, and the extent of injuries and property damage suffered by the victims, is different, so it is difficult to predict how much a car accident lawyer will cost. In other kinds of cases, a lawyer will charge for their services on an hourly basis, or charge a flat fee. However, most car accident lawyers, after an initial evaluation of the victim’s case, will take the case with a contingency fee. This means the lawyer’s fee will be based on the amount of damages they can successfully claim for their client, and therefore, the lawyer is highly motivated to argue for the fairest settlement under the law that awards all of the damages their client is entitled to. This provides the client with peace of mind that there are no costs up front, and their lawyer is seeking the maximum settlement on their behalf. It also ensures the lawyer is confident the client’s case is strong enough to reach a settlement – otherwise the lawyer would not take the case.
The amount of the contingency fee when the lawyer wins the settlement is a percentage of the total. The percentage will depend on a number of factors and should be discussed with the client in the initial consultation so that the client can make an informed decision to hire the lawyer. An initial consultation with the lawyer should be free so they can carefully review the details of the case without any cost to the client.
A common percentage for personal injury contingency fees is 33%. However, factors that determine the percentage of the lawyer’s contingency fees may depend upon:
- How complex the case is. How many parties were involved? What is the extent of the injuries and property damage? What will it take to build a case to establish fault and justify the damages claimed?
- How experienced the attorney is, and their record of success. A lawyer who is at the top of their field with an excellent track record may charge a higher percentage.
- What is the competition for lawyers in the area? A lawyer will charge an amount to keep them competitive with other car accident lawyers.
- Will the case have to go to trial? This means the case will be much more complicated than a case that settles out of court.
What Other Costs are Part of a Car Accident Settlement Case?
Hiring a lawyer to manage a personal injury case means handing over responsibility to a trusted professional who can obtain essential medical records, police reports, and other evidence to build their client’s case while they recover from injuries. However, doing this work may incur additional costs, such as:
- Obtaining records from police usually requires an administrative fee.
- The lawyer may have to travel to investigate the case, and pass on their expenses.
- Health providers may charge a fee to order medical records.
- The case may require the services of an expert witness, which they must be paid for.
- If the case goes to trial, there will be fees charged by the court.
However, the client does not have to worry about paying these fees as they come. The law firm will usually cover the costs as they are charged, and then they will be deducted from the amount awarded to the client along with the contingency fee. The client should make sure to ask about a law firm’s standard procedure for additional costs and request it in writing so they know what to expect.
Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer Based on Cost?
The prospect of recovering all of the damages from a car accident is a huge relief for a car accident victim. Knowing a lawyer can assist with claiming costs like medical bills, lost income from missing work, and damage to the victim’s vehicle can be a glimmer of hope when dealing with the emotional stress and physical pain of recovering from an accident. A lawyer can also build a case for non-economic damages, also known as pain and suffering. Pain and suffering damages compensate the victim for emotional anguish, a loss of enjoyment, and the trauma of physical pain – experiences that cannot necessarily be monetized.
However, while envisioning a generous settlement that will make for a brighter future, it can be tempting for a car accident victim to hire a lower who offers a lower contingency fee than the competition. It is important for the client to consider why a law firm would charge less than others in their area. Does the lawyer have the appropriate experience to handle their client’s case? Do they have a proven track record of winning fair settlements for their past clients?
An inexperienced car accident lawyer may charge a lower contingency fee, but they may also negotiate a lower settlement for their client and not secure all of the damages their client is entitled to. In order to reach the best possible outcome, it is important for a car accident victim to consider more than just the contingency fee when hiring a lawyer.
If you have been injured in a car accident, our experienced team will go through all of the potential costs of handling your case. Contact us or call us at 918-359-6600 for a free consultation.