If you were injured in a car accident, working with a San Antonio car accident lawyer offers you the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve. However, if this is your first time working with an attorney, you may wonder how much you should expect hiring a lawyer to cost or if you’ll be expected to pay for legal services up-front.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
After a car crash, the last thing you want to do is accumulate more expenses. Fear of adding to your stack of accident-related bills may make you hesitant to contact a lawyer or worry that you will be responsible for paying hefty attorney fees even if your case is unsuccessful. Car accident attorneys understand that injured drivers may be unable to pay for services up-front or be worried they’ll be left holding the bill for an unsuccessful case.
Most accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, where they receive between 25% and 40% of the victim’s compensation. The exact percentage amount will vary depending on the complexity of your case or at what point in the legal process you hired a lawyer. This amount covers the cost of the attorney’s time, so other legal or administrative fees may be billed separately.
Expenses Outside of the Contingency Fee
Although your attorney’s fees will be determined by the outcome of the case, you may still be responsible for other legal expenses. These expenses vary on a case-by-case basis and may go beyond the expected court and filing fees. You’ll want to discuss these fees with your lawyer to find out if you will be responsible for paying them, and if so, whether they will need to be paid up-front or if they will be taken from the money you recover. Some potential expenses include:
You may have to pay a fee to obtain some of the evidence you need for your case, such as accident reports or medical records. For example, accident reports in Texas are called Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Reports (CR-3), and you will need to pay a small fee to acquire a certified copy of your accident report. Your medical care provider can also charge a fee for providing a copy of your medical records to be used for legal purposes.
Expert witnesses can be brought in to strengthen your case and provide professional testimony on your injuries or the accident. These individuals may charge either an hourly or flat rate and are paid for their time and expertise, no matter the outcome of the case.
What Is a Contingency Fee?
Understanding how most car accident lawyers are paid will allow you to feel confident seeking legal guidance and ensure you can get the help you need to maximize your settlement. When you hire a lawyer to handle your case on a contingency fee basis, they will only be paid for their time if your case has a successful resolution. If your case has a successful outcome, they will be paid a previously agreed-upon percentage of the funds you recover.
Your lawyer will have you sign a contract that details the specifics of your agreement. While most car accident attorneys work on contingency, you’ll still want to review your contract carefully. Different lawyers have varying payment structures, so be sure to ask for clarification of anything in the agreement you don’t understand.
Benefits of Contingency Fees
Lowered Financial Risk
When lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, you don’t have to worry about being held responsible for legal fees if you don’t recover compensation. Since your lawyer is paid from the money you recover from the at-fault party and doesn’t receive their payment if your case is unsuccessful, you don’t have to worry about ending up in a worse financial situation if your attempts to seek compensation aren’t successful.
This knowledge allows accident victims to seek recompense for their losses without fear of financial repercussions. Contingency fee payments help equalize the playing field and ensure that all victims have the opportunity to seek justice, no matter their financial situation.
Increased Incentive for Attorneys
Another benefit of this payment structure is that it incentivizes lawyers to give each case the attention it deserves. Since the success of your case is directly tied to how much money your attorney makes, they will be invested in getting you the best outcome possible. You’ll never have to wonder if your attorney is dedicated to your case because you both will have a significant investment in a successful outcome.
No matter what percentage of the winnings your attorney has agreed to, the more money you recover, the more money they will make. When you’re successful, so are they, which means you both have the same goal.
No Up-Front Expenses
Accident victims who don’t have the funds necessary to pay for attorney fees outright still deserve to be represented and pursue compensation for their losses. However, if accident attorneys weren’t willing to work on a contingency fee basis, the number of accident victims who could hire a lawyer to help them handle their case would be much lower than it is.
Accident victims often already deal with complicated financial circumstances due to the accident and don’t have the money to put towards attorney fees, especially if they are unsure their efforts will pay off. This payment method keeps accident victims from being barred from seeking the compensation they deserve because of their financial situation.
Access to Quality Legal Representation
Contingency fees allow any individual to work with an experienced lawyer for the duration of their case. Without contingency fees, accident victims would be left to face the insurance company’s team of lawyers and claim adjusters with only the amount of legal guidance they could afford to pay for outright.
Insurance companies have seasoned attorneys working for them, and you won’t want to face them alone or with an inexperienced attorney. When quality legal representation is more accessible, individuals have a fair chance at recovering compensation because they can afford to work with a lawyer who is skilled enough to win their case.
Hire a Skilled San Antonio Car Accident Attorney
While the idea of only having to pay attorney’s fees if you win your case may sound too good to be true, that isn’t the case with a contingency fee. This fee arrangement allows you to pursue the compensation you need without making your financial situation more precarious. Even though working with a lawyer means sharing a percentage of your recovery, it is still usually worth more money to you in the end than if you take on the insurance company alone.
Sometimes, car accident victims are tempted to tackle their case without an attorney, so they don’t have to pay a portion of the recovery in attorney’s fees. Unfortunately, this strategy often backfires since the average individual doesn’t have the expertise to take on the insurance company effectively.
A Martindale-Nolo survey found that when drivers tried to recover damages alone, only 54% of them received compensation. In contrast, 74% of individuals with a lawyer received compensation from the at-fault party. Valuing damage and injury claims is challenging, and a seasoned lawyer will know how to accurately present your losses and prevent the other driver’s insurance company from trying any underhanded tactics to discredit your injury claims.
Contact the Joe A. Gamez Law Firm, PLC, Today
Work with a law firm that understands the challenges of dealing with the aftermath of a car accident. Our client-focused approach means we put your needs first and are committed to helping you navigate this challenging situation.
For over 40 years, our firm has been helping individuals in the San Antonio area seek justice and protect themselves from insurance companies who don’t have their best interests at heart. Contact the Joe A. Gamez Law Firm, PLC, online or by calling (210) 951-2024 to schedule your free consultation today.