Chances are good that you’ve seen legal commercials with attorneys making the statement that they don’t get paid unless you do. It’s a fact that car accident lawyers don’t take a retainer or ask for money upfront to pursue a personal injury case on your behalf. Instead, the lawyer charges what is known as contingency fees for car accident cases. This type of fee structure enables accident victims to retain a lawyer and increases the odds they’ll get fair compensation for their bills.
The contingency fee structure for payment means the accident victim doesn’t have to pay out of pocket for a retainer and ongoing hourly fees, as well as any other costs associated with a lawsuit. Read on to learn more about how the contingency fee works, what it covers, and why lawyers use it as a method of getting paid.
What Is A Contingency Fee?
A contingency fee is a payment for the lawyer that’s contingent on the lawyer settling or winning the case in your favor. If the lawyer loses your case, they won’t get paid for their efforts. This means the lawyer has to be very certain that they’ll be able to get the case resolved in a way that you get a monetary settlement that is more than adequate for covering your bills and other considerations.
The contingency fee is offered as a form of payment for legal services rendered for clients who don’t have sufficient funds to pay for a lawyer upfront. It’s also used as payment when the expected settlement or award is less than what the attorney would earn if paid hourly.
In the event you decide to move forward with legal representation for a personal injury case, you’ll sign an agreement with the lawyer for payment in the form of a contingency fee. The agreement also states the percentage of the contingency fee that is to be taken for expected services if the case is won in favor of the client.
Sometimes, a case can go beyond the effort to reach an agreeable settlement amount. At this point, it’s likely that the case will go to trial to find a resolution as well as avoid running out of the statute of limitations. This increases the costs and the percentage the attorney takes for payment. The agreement will contain a section that explains the increase in percentages and the amount the attorney will ultimately take from the final award.
Why a Car Accident Lawyer in Yakima, WA, Takes a Contingency Fee
Practicing law is more complex than it looks on the surface. It requires going through the information and evidence related to the accident, the use of legal staff to do research for building the foundation for a lawsuit, and the ability to apply legal knowledge to get an idea of the potential outcome of your case. There are other factors that can come into play that affect the amount of work that needs to be done.
All of this work is necessary for pursuing a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of a client, but it also adds up fast in terms of cost. Most people don’t have that kind of money to pay upfront to a lawyer. That means they would have to navigate their way through the insurance claims process on their own if contingency fees weren’t offered by lawyers.
Contingency fees offer access to legal representation and better outcomes for the accident victim as a general rule. An accident victim can become the client of an attorney with no money upfront in most cases and focus on recovering from the accident without pressure from the insurance company to settle.
A Contingency Fee Means the Lawyer Covers Costs
Taking a contingency fee means the lawyer gets paid months after the case has been initiated. During that period of time, the lawyer has to cover a variety of costs that include items such as paying for rent and utilities, support staff, filing fees, and their own salary. Therefore, a lawyer or law firm that works on contingency has to have sufficient funds set aside to take care of these costs while working on your car accident case. It’s often felt that lawyers or law firms that are contingency fee-only are ones that are more than capable of winning cases as they have sufficient financial reserves to pay overhead costs.
Contingency Fee Percentages
The contingency fee percentage that the lawyer charges depend on the complexity of your case, costs related to the preparation of your case, and what the lawyer has to do to get you just compensation. On average, you can expect a contingency fee of anywhere from 30% to 33%, but the scale can range anywhere from 20% to 50%, depending on the complexity of your case. All lawyers and law firms differ in the percentage they charge, so you need to be direct and ask about the percentage range before signing an agreement for representation and payment.
The Advantages of Contingency Fees for Car Accident Victims
As previously mentioned, lawyers don’t get paid for their work until there’s a settlement or award. When a lawyer takes a car accident case on contingency, it means you have a viable case with good potential to go in your favor. Ultimately, it’s in the lawyer’s best interests to be a strong advocate on your behalf and work towards a financial settlement or award that’s in keeping with your needs.
The contingency fee also helps low-income individuals gain access to badly needed legal help that they couldn’t otherwise afford. Insurance companies are persistent in their efforts to get car accident victims to settle for less than they should. Retaining legal counsel on a contingency payment basis means the insurance company representatives have to talk to the lawyer going forward. Meanwhile, the accident victim gets relief from the pressure to settle for less.
Last, but not least, if the case is lost, the lawyer won’t ask for payment. You may have to pay for some administrative costs, but these costs are nowhere near what you would have paid out of pocket.
Learn More about Contingency Fees from a Yakima Personal Injury Lawyer
Contingency fees help you get legal representation after a car accident in pursuit of an award that takes care of your needs and medical bills. The law firm of Montoya Hinckley has extensive experience representing clients who are seeking fair compensation for their losses and injuries. Give us a call today to set up a consultation and go over your case with one of our car accident lawyers.