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Does a Car Accident Lawyer Get Paid Before or After the Settlement?

by | Sep 13, 2022 | Car Accidents, Personal Injury |

Car accidents are messy and complicated, especially if you have been harmed by someone else’s negligence. If you have never been involved in an accident before, you might be wondering whether the car accident lawyer gets paid before or after you win a settlement. Our legal experts in Houston and San Antonio can tell you everything you need to understand before hiring a lawyer, including information about the payment models.

Does a Car Accident Lawyer Get Paid Before or After the Settlement?

Car accident lawyers and law firms vary on how and when they accept payment from their clients. Generally speaking, there are two payment models that apply in the case of personal injury settlements: contingency fees and flat rates. Most claimants who are pursuing personal injury damages prefer to work with a lawyer who offers services on a contingency fee basis.

According to the contingency fee model, the lawyer gets paid a percentage of the payout after winning compensation for the client. Alternatively, car accident lawyers who charge a flat rate get paid according to a predetermined schedule regardless of whether or not the case is successful. Some of the flat rate installments might be scheduled before the outcome of the case is determined, depending on the client’s agreement with the lawyer.

Why Do Many Car Accident Lawyers Offer the Contingency Fee Model?

Personal injury is a type of law that involves working with individuals who are experiencing medical difficulties, often while going up against big insurance companies to recover compensation. In a personal injury case, time is of the essence, and not everyone can pay an lawyer out of pocket before they receive their settlement.

The best car accident lawyers understand that before a payout is secured, it is important to focus on removing financial strain from the claimant and building a strong case. Here are some of the advantages of the contingency fee model:

Contingency Fees Make Legal Expenses Less of an Obstacle

Everyone deserves top-quality legal representation, regardless of their finances. After an accident, there are usually all kinds of out-of-pocket expenses that come up, including medical bills. Additionally, people who are forced to take time off work to deal with their injuries might have less money coming in to cover those expenses.

The goal of winning a settlement is to hold the liable party accountable for all of the expenses related to the injury. Car accident lawyers who work on a contingency fee basis are able to work with clients towards that goal without adding to the financial difficulties an accident can bring.

The Car Accident Lawyer Is Incentivized to Perform Well

Lawyers who demand a flat rate will get paid the same amount no matter how much money they secure for their client or how long it takes to obtain a settlement offer. In some situations, they get paid even if the client walks away with nothing. Therefore, the flat rate model doesn’t incentivize lawyers to perform at their best, and it does not always yield an outcome that is fair to the client.

The contingency fee model is preferable to the flat fee model because car accident lawyers who charge a contingency fee are paid a percentage of the amount of money their clients receive. That means that a large payout is a win-win for everyone.

There Is No Financial Risk for the Client

If you have been injured in an accident, you should not have to risk your own money when you go up against the liable party for compensation. Unlike the flat fee model, contingency fees allow clients to pursue their damages without incurring the risk of coming out in the red.

Do Contingency Fee Lawyers Provide the Same Services as Flat Rate Lawyers?

Yes. The payment model does not affect the services you receive from a personal injury lawyer. Whether you pay a flat rate or a contingency fee you can expect:

Case Building

Whether you are filing a claim or taking your situation to court, it is vital to have strong evidence that demonstrates the other party’s negligence and the negative impact the accident had on your life. When applicable, your car accident lawyer should help you gather:

  • Medical bills
  • Physician testimonies
  • A letter from your employer stating your missed hours
  • Records of your normal pay rate and benefits
  • Witness statements
  • Photographs and video
  • Physical evidence


Most personal injury cases do not require claimants to go to court in order to receive compensation. Your car accident lawyer can help you negotiate for an appropriate settlement offer, which often gets the claimant paid faster and avoids the risk of a court siding with the defense. Your lawyer can argue for an amount that will cover all of your damages, including pain and suffering.


If the insurance company does not accept your claim, or if they do not offer a reasonable amount of money, you have the right to take the matter to court. There, your car accident lawyer will present the evidence you gathered to support your case.

Legal Advise

Throughout the entire process, one of the most valuable services a car accident lawyer provides is legal advice. Even before you file your claim, he or she can review your damages and help you identify how much compensation you could be eligible to receive. He or she will make you aware of all the protocols you must follow to avoid invalidating your case, and all of the deadlines you must observe.

When it comes time to review an offer from the insurance company, your lawyer can help you determine whether to accept it or push for more money. He or she can even weigh in on whether or not you should take the matter to court, based on how similar cases have been resolved in the past.

Is the Consultation With a Car Accident Lawyer Free?

It depends on the law firm. An important step in choosing a car accident lawyer is scheduling an initial consultation to go over the details of the accident together. When you attend this meeting, you can expect to talk about how the accident occurred, how you felt at the time of the accident, and how your injuries have affected your day-to-day life. If you both feel that the match is good, you will sign some documents making the client-lawyer relationship official.

While some car accident lawyers charge for the consultation, our law firm believes that because most injured people are not in a good position to pay legal fees upfront, the initial meeting should be free. We will take the time to meet with you and discuss your situation in detail, focusing on how we can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. As always, you will never pay until and unless your case is successful.

Find a Contingency Fee Car Accident Lawyer in Houston or San Antonio

Accidents are stressful enough as is, without having to worry about the possibility of paying legal fees for a case that was not successful. Not only will our lawyers in Houston or San Antonio fight tirelessly to get you as much compensation as possible, we work on a contingency fee basis. Simply put, first you win, then we win. To get in touch a car accident lawyer who can help you, contact Joe A. Gamez Law Firm, PLC, today.