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How Much Do Lawyers Take From a Car Accident Settlement?

by | Jan 25, 2022 | Car Accidents |

In the aftermath of an automotive accident, you may find yourself suffering from severe injuries and financial losses. On top of hospital bills, medical expenses, lost wages and other financial losses, it may feel like hiring a lawyer is too expensive. If you’re facing the financial burden of an automotive accident, finding a car accident lawyer near me in Houston or San Antonio should be your top priority, and here’s what you can expect to pay for their legal assistance.

How Much Do Lawyers Take From a Car Accident Settlement?

If you’re in the market for a car accident lawyer in Houston or San Antonio, TX, it’s important to know what costs and fees may be associated with seeking legal help. When you’ve been a victim of an motor vehicle accident, determining the cost of legal assistance depends on who is at fault in the accident. If the other driver is deemed responsible for the accident, you’ll be able to hire a car accident attorney under a contingency fee.

Because car accident lawyers typically work for the driver who is not at fault in an accident, they are able to represent their clients under a contingency fee agreement. This means that any legal fees will be paid out of the insurance settlement or court judgment received by the client. Even though the insurance settlement will be paying your lawyer, you’ll still want to be sure to choose a top-tier legal representative to ensure you receive the best possible settlement.

What Percentage Is a Contingency Fee in Houston or San Antonio?

In contrast to the hourly fees that other types of lawyers, such as family, immigration, or will and estate lawyers charge for their cases falling under their specialization, car accident lawyers charge a contingency fee to pay for their services. This means that the law firm will only be paid attorney’s fees in the event that you recover money in your settlement. This will be paid as a percentage of the settlement money that you receive.

While the percentage that a car accident lawyer will receive varies based on their experience and the complexity of the case, a third of the settlement (or 33 percent) is a standard rate. That being said, you may find contingency fees ranging from 25 percent up to a maximum of 40 percent. It’s good practice to speak with your lawyer upfront about his or her contingency fee percentage, and always be sure to carefully review any documents related to securing legal services.

What Happens If My Case Goes to Court?

Your lawyer’s contingency fee percentage may increase if a lawsuit needs to be filed against the other driver. If the case arrives at settlement without going to court, the contingency fee percentage will likely stay on the lower side. If, however, a lawsuit is filed against the other driver and the case goes to trial, this will impact the attorney’s contingency fee percentage. When a case goes before a jury, you can expect your attorney’s share to increase up to 40 percent.

If you do not understand your lawyer’s fee arrangement, it’s important to have your attorney explain it to you. As is true for everything in a contract, your attorney’s fee may be negotiable, especially if your case is not complicated. If fault for the car accident is clear, your damages are easily calculated, the other driver has sufficient car insurance, and the evidence for your claims is ample, it’s likely that you can negotiate a lower contingency fee percentage.

Costs and Expenses Involved in a Car Accident Case

Depending on your lawyer’s contract, you may be responsible for other expenses, such as upfront court fees, the cost of obtaining medical records, the costs for acquiring police reports, and court reporter and expert witness fees. Some law firms require their clients to pay these expenses during the process of litigation. Check your contract to see if you’re responsible for these costs, as unpaid fees can result in stalling your case until payment is received.

Larger law firms, however, will typically cover these fees and expenses during litigation and will recover these costs from your settlement. Instead of paying for these services upfront and out-of-pocket, the law firm will receive reimbursement for the costs and expenses that they have put up during litigation in addition to the contingency fee for their legal services. Typically, a lawyer will take their fee from the net settlement after case expenses have been deducted.

Other Types of Fee Arrangements in Car Accident Cases

While many car accident lawyers work on a pure contingency fee arrangement, some may opt to collect a retainer upfront before beginning your case in addition to their contingency fee. In this instance, when you recover money, the amount you’ve paid as a retainer will be subtracted from the attorney’s percentage of the settlement at the end of the case. It is unlikely that you will encounter a flat fee payment for legal services in a car accident case.

Understanding Your Car Accident Settlement in San Antonio or Houston

What Types of Compensation Am I Entitled To?

Auto accident victims under Texas law are able to receive compensation equal to the value of their damages, so every car accident claim has to be evaluated on an individual basis. Therefore, the compensation that you are entitled to as an accident survivor depends on several factors. Some examples of compensation you may recover in an automotive accident settlement include:

  • Past, current, and future medical bills for injuries related to the accident
  • Physical therapy or rehabilitative care for injuries related to the accident
  • Loss of wages and diminished earning capabilities
  • Long-term disability
  • Pain and suffering, including emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium

Be Sure to Document Your Damages

To ensure you receive the maximum possible settlement in your car accident case, thorough documentation of your losses is a necessity. The other driver’s insurance company will look for ways to minimize your damages and reduce the value of your settlement award. Providing sufficient evidence and documentation will help you to receive the compensation you deserve.

Some ways to provide documentation that can serve as evidence include:

  • Pictures
  • Videos
  • Dashcam or bodycam footage
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Medical bills, including bills from specialists
  • Vehicle debris and wreckage

Factors That May Reduce Your Compensation

It’s important to note that a finding of partial fault (or “contributory negligence”) in a car accident case will reduce the value of your settlement, sometimes significantly. When two or more parties share fault in a collision, the financial liability is divided among the faulty parties according to what percentage of the blame each party is accountable for. If you are found at fault for a percentage of a crash, your settlement offer will be reduced by that percentage.

If you were involved in a minor accident and suffered no injuries beyond a couple scrapes or bruises, you can probably navigate a settlement without legal assistance. However, if you were injured, especially if your injuries required significant and immediate medical treatment, finding a car accident lawyer near me will be a necessity for your case. To protect yourself in the aftermath of a car crash in Houston or San Antonio, call Joe A. Gamez Law Firm, PLC today.