After you have been injured in a car accident you may consider hiring a lawyer to help you recover compensation for your injuries. For many of people, when we think of hiring a lawyer our first reaction is wonder how much it will cost. If the cost of hiring a lawyer is too high then it may not be worth hiring an attorney where the injuries are not that serious
Lawyers in Tennessee generally charge their clients in one of three ways: on an hourly basis, on a contingency basis, or on a fixed fee basis. In car accident cases, lawyers almost always charge their clients a contingency fee. Contingency fees allow personal injury victims the financial flexibility to bring a personal injury lawsuit without have to front significant attorneys’ fees to fund litigation. It is important to know, however, that some attorneys will also charge certain additional fees and expenses.
What is a contingency fee?
A lawyer who charges a contingency fee only gets paid if their client either collects a settlement or is awarded damages at trial. The lawyer’s fee is therefore contingent on a favorable outcome for the client.
How much is the contingency fee?
A contingency fee is general a percentage of the client’s settlement or damages. A typical contingency fee is about 33 1/3%, or one third of the total recovery. For example, if a jury awards damages in the amount of $120,000 and the attorney has a one third contingency fee, the attorney’s fees will be $40,000.
A contingency fee is beneficial because it allows a person to utilize the services of an attorney without having to front significant costs. At the same time, however, a lawyer working on a contingency fee may receive significantly more in attorneys’ fees than the attorney would have received if fees had been paid on an hourly basis. This is especially true if the damages for a victim’s personal injuries are in the millions of dollars. Most personal injury claims, however, are not in the millions of dollars. For these personal injury claims, a contingency fee may be more prudent, as opposed to paying hourly attorney’s fees.
What about extra fees and costs?
Unless an injured victim has been involved in a lawsuit before, they may not realize how quickly fees and costs can pile up. For example, it costs about $285 to file a personal injury lawsuit in Tennessee. Other fees includes things like paying expert witnesses and doctors, hiring court reporters for depositions, travel, and hiring investigators when necessary. Often the plaintiff will be responsible for covering these fees in addition to paying the contingency fee. Many attorneys will not charge for these fees if the case in unsuccessful. It is important to fully understand all of these potential costs before deciding to file a lawsuit.
What if my case settles before trial?
Preparing for and going through a trial is a lot of work. For that reason, and others, some lawyers charge a different contingency fee depending on whether or not the case settles before going to trial, often a lower amount than if the lawyer was required to litigate the case. Give our car wreck lawyers a call today for a FREE consultation.