If you’ve been in an auto accident, one of the most common questions you might have is how much do auto accident lawyers charge? The answer isn’t straightforward because it depends on the lawyer and your unique situation. For instance, if you’re facing criminal charges in addition to personal injury claims, that’s going to be more expensive than just auto accident claims alone.
Contingency Fees for Auto Accident Lawyers
According to Nolo, attorneys who represent accident victims typically charge a contingency fee of one-third of your award. This usually amounts to 33.3% of whatever you’re awarded in compensation from the insurance company. For example, if your attorney gets you $50,000 in settlement money and fees, you will pay them $16,667 (plus expenses).
Flat Fees and Retainers
Flat fees are a fixed amount an attorney charges for their services. Retainers are when lawyers collect a portion of their total fee upfront. If you choose a flat fee, find out how much experience your lawyer has in dealing with cases like yours. If you go with a retainer, get an agreement on how often and how much money will be collected. Retainers don’t necessarily mean you won’t have to pay more later; you just won’t know what they’ll cost until it’s time to cover them. Generally speaking, flat fees may not reflect actual costs in many cases and could cause hardship if your case is more involved than expected or goes longer than expected.
Fees and Costs Associated with Auto Accident Cases
The cost of a car accident case depends on several factors, including the type of case, who was at fault, and whether it’s settled or goes to trial. The following are some of the expenses you might incur:
- Filing fees – The cost varies from state to state but averages about $100 per claim. You may be able to get these fees waived if you are a low-income person.
- Attorney’s fees – Attorney’s fees vary widely depending on the complexity of your case and the amount of time required to fight it in court. Fees for a simple auto accident case can range from $5,000 to $10,000. For a more complicated personal injury case with injuries that require extensive medical treatment, personal injury attorney fees could reach $30,000 or more.
- Medical costs – Medical bills include hospital charges, ambulance fees, X-rays, medications prescribed by doctors; physical therapy sessions; and any surgeries needed as part of your treatment plan. These costs vary widely depending on the severity of your injuries and what kind of treatment plan doctors prescribe.
- Lost wages – Lost wages include money lost because you missed work while recovering from an auto accident injury.
Fees Taken from Your Net Settlement in an Auto Accident Claim
The typical auto accident attorney charges a contingency fee, which means that they will receive a percentage of the money you receive in your claim. The rate will depend on the type of injury you sustained and other factors. It usually ranges from 25% to 40%. Net settlement is the amount left after deducting all legal fees from your award. For example, if you received $50,000 in medical bills and another $10,000 in lost wages and pain and suffering damages, but your attorney’s fees amounted to $15,000, your net settlement would be $35,000. Your attorney’s fee would then be 25% of that amount: $8,750.