After a car accident, you’re most likely already worried about hospital bills, so hiring a car accident lawyer can add more stress. However, car accident attorneys aren’t as expensive as they may seem.
The Thumbs Up Guys are ready to help you understand how much it costs to hire a lawyer after a car accident. We hope this information helps you in your decision and eases your worries.
How Car Accident Attorneys Get Paid
Attorney’s fees are an essential part of the process. It’s how you pay your lawyer for their hard work. Generally, there are three methods that car accident attorneys use to collect their fees. We’ll explain them, starting with the most common to the least common method:
After a car accident, when you’re looking for a lawyer, a majority of car accident attorneys will likely have a badge on their site that says they work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you are paying the attorney’s fees depending on whether your car accident lawyer wins you a settlement.
If your lawyer succeeds with your case and wins a car accident settlement, your lawyer will then take a percentage of your settlement to pay their attorney’s fees. The average percentage a lawyer takes is around 33% of your settlement.
However, you and your car accident lawyer can negotiate this fee so that it’s fair to both of you. When your lawyer works on a contingency basis, they only take a part of the settlement, so you won’t have to pay money out of pocket for attorneys fees. This is one of the most advantageous methods for clients.
The second most common method car accident lawyers use is an hourly rate. While it may be a bit less common, many car crash attorneys still charge their clients on an hourly basis.
Lawyers that charge by the hour require a retainer, a deposit for the legal services the lawyer will provide. When the retainer runs out, you may have to pay your lawyer for the extra time they spent on your case over the next few months.
The advantage of an hourly rate is that you are billed for how long it takes for your lawyer to complete your case. If your case isn’t complicated, you may not have to pay too much. A disadvantage to you as the client is that a lawyer could be inefficient and just take their time investigating and running up your bill, resulting in little to no compensation.
The least common and final way lawyers charge their clients is a flat fee. With a flat fee, you don’t have to worry about an ongoing bill; you just have to pay an upfront cost. While this could be more expensive because it’s a one-time payment, lawyers who charge a flat fee are often more efficient.
Flat fees encourage better results because the lawyer isn’t stressed about rushing or encouraged to go slow to bill you more money. They can take their time investigating your case, and you can effectively communicate back and forth since you aren’t billed for reaching out to them.
Additional Expenses You Must Pay
Attorneys fees can be expensive. However, they don’t cover all of the work a car accident attorney has to do. Some of the most important tasks your lawyer does cost a lot of money to execute, which means you’ll likely have to pay for things such as:
- Filing a lawsuit in court
- Administrative costs like paralegals
- Filing required paperwork
- Court reports
- Travel expenses
It’s important to keep in mind that you may not have to pay all of these costs because it will depend on your situation and car accident. Some attorneys may only charge you for legal-related business and cover the transportation themselves.
Is There a Limit on How Much a Lawyer Can Charge?
Depending on the state, there may be a limit on how much lawyers can take from a settlement for the contingency fee, but generally, lawyers should charge a reasonable price. However, there is nothing that can determine what is reasonable, as it is up to the lawyer.
With this lack of specifics, disputes can arise surrounding the reasonability of lawyers’ fees. If this occurs, the lawyer and client should use the South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct to determine if a fee is reasonable. According to the South Carolina Judicial Branch, you can use the following factors to determine if a fee is reasonable:
- The time, work, skill level, and difficulty of the case
- If the case may prevent the lawyer from working on future cases
- The average fees in the local area
- The amount of money the client could win and does win
- Time restrictions because of the client or circumstances
- The relationship between the client and the lawyer
- The lawyer’s experience, reputation, and skillset
- Whether the client is paying a fixed or contingent fee
These factors can help you determine if a fee is reasonable. Even if you don’t have a dispute, this information can be helpful in determining if any potential lawyers you’re considering are charging reasonable fees.
The Value of a Free Case Consultation
Before hiring a car accident attorney to represent you, most law firms offer a free case consultation or case review. A free consultation has no obligations for you to work with them and gives you the opportunity to decide if a lawyer is right for you.
Since you’re looking for a car accident attorney, research online to find a personal injury attorney with car accidents listed in their practice areas. This will ensure that the lawyer you’re considering has experience with your case type and maybe even the type of accident you suffered.
You should also try finding a lawyer you get along well with and feel comfortable talking to. Many people overlook the importance of having a connection with their attorney because they don’t think it matters. However, The Thumbs Up Guys want to remind you that you’re going to be sharing details, possibly graphic, so you need to find a lawyer that makes you feel at ease when doing so.
Questions You Should Ask in a Free Case Consultation
During your consultation, you have time to ask any questions you have about working with the lawyer. While you’re free to ask anything, our team has created a list of helpful questions to ask a car accident lawyer that could help you make your decision:
- What is your contingency fee?
- How much experience do you have taking cases to trial?
- Can you give me an overview of your car accident case process?
- How much will you need me to participate in my case?
- What win are you most proud of and why?
- How will you communicate with me throughout the legal process?
By asking these questions, you can get answers to technical questions but also get a feel for their character, which is important in your case as well.
Learn More About the Costs of Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer in South Carolina
The Thumbs Up Guys have years of experience helping clients decide what’s right for them and their cases. We understand the stress of navigating the legal process after you suffer injuries in a car accident.
To learn more about how much a car accident lawyer costs, you can give us a call or fill out the contact form on our website.