If I’m in a Car Accident, How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Attorney

According to the Arkansas State Highway Department, on average, hundreds of people are killed in traffic accidents on Arkansas roadways each year. Thousands more are seriously injured.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car wreck, you may be considering hiring a lawyer who specializes in personal injury cases to help pursue legal action against the insurance company or any negligent parties involved in the accident.

If so, you may be wondering what it costs to hire a lawyer to handle your case. Attorneys who handle personal injury cases often work for a “contingency fee,” and how much an attorney retains is different depending on the case.

What is a Contingency Fee?

In many cases, an attorney who handles personal injury claims will not require you to pay a fee or any out of pocket expenses unless money is recovered for you. This kind of fee is known as a contingency fee. Contingency fees are typically negotiated up front and are likely based on a percentage of the compensation you receive for your injuries.

Advantages of a contingency fee include:

  • You do not have to pay your lawyer or legal team up front, allowing you to focus on your case.
  • If you lose, you do not have pay any legal fees at all.
  • Contingency fees can be negotiated.
  • Attorneys are often more motivated to fight for you if their fee is contingent on the outcome.

A contingency fee doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll pay less than standard billing. In fact, paying your legal fees on a contingent basis may end up costing you more than standard billing by the hour.

What Happens If My Case Settles Before Going to Court?

In some cases, personal injury claims, including car accident claims, are settled before a case is filed, and the parties involved never have to go to court. Most settlements will often include a percentage of the recovery to be paid as a fee to the attorney, and you could also be required to reimburse the attorney for any costs incurred in handling your claim out of your settlement. However, even with these deductions, clients typically end up receiving more money in their pocket than if they had pursued the claim on their own.

What Kinds of Compensation Could an Injured Party Receive?

A personal injury lawyer will most likely have the experience and ability to recover money on your claim in ways that you may not consider. For example, while most people might expect reimbursement for their medical bills and time off work as the result of their accident, they might also be able to recover compensation for pain and suffering, future medical expenses, and the loss of the ability to work. Certain terms in their own auto insurance policy, such as no-fault and underinsured motorist coverage, can also provide additional sources of compensation.

Additionally, health insurance companies that cover an injured person’s medical expenses often seek reimbursement for those expenses out of the settlement with the at-fault driver. In many instances, however, the health insurance company is not entitled to recover those costs. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you avoid any unnecessary costs associated with your claim so that you keep more of the money you recover.