A car accident is never a pleasant experience. But as the saying goes, accidents happen. Car accidents resulting from an injury are even more upsetting than a minor fender bender. In addition to getting your car repaired, you must fix yourself.
Everyone knows that lawyers can be expensive, but hiring one is necessary to receive compensation for your damages. It doesn’t seem quite fair if you’ve been injured due to another driver’s neglect that you should have to pay money to hire a law firm to represent you.
If you need to hire a personal injury lawyer in Washington State and are afraid it costs an arm and a leg, we’ll put your mind at ease. We’ll discuss the different ways a car accident lawyer can be paid.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire a Washington State Car Accident Lawyer?
The answer to this question depends on what arrangement you’ve agreed to with your attorney. When hiring a car accident lawyer, this is one of the first questions you should ask. Different law firms have different requirements for how they expect to be paid. Fortunately, most personal injury attorneys offer a free initial consultation to determine if your case will likely succeed.
One of the most common ways a personal injury attorney is paid is with a contingency fee. This payment agreement means the attorney will only be paid if you win a settlement. Upon settlement of the case, the law firm will typically take anywhere between 30 to 40 percent of the money you receive. Some lawyers will stagger the percentage if a settlement isn’t reached during the dispute resolution phase and the case goes to trial.
Certain factors can influence the settlement percentage the lawyer will take. Some of them include:
- Time and effort – Experienced personal injury law firms have a good idea of how much time and effort they’ll have to spend on your case. The percentage of the settlement they’ll take is based upon this.
- Risks involved – The more difficult your case will be to prove negligence and the risks involved in going to trial play a role in what the law firm’s contingency fee will be.
- Early settlement or trial – Another factor that determines the contingency fee percentage is if the firm feels the negligent party will agree to settle early or if they’ll want the case to go to trial. An early settlement could mean less work from the law firm, but that could also result in a smaller award for damages.
Contingency Fee With Retainer
Some personal injury law firms will require a retainer and a contingency fee. A retainer is an agreed-upon amount of money paid upfront to the law firm to take on your case. In addition to this non-refundable retainer fee, they’ll also take a percentage if you win a settlement.
Win or lose. A personal injury law firm may require a flat fee amount to be paid before they take on your case. Firms that may feel you don’t have a strong case but are determined to file anyway may ask for a flat fee to ensure they’re paid for their time and resources. If a law firm wants an upfront flat fee, this is a red flag indicating that you may not have a strong case.
Although nowhere as common as the other methods of paying a personal injury lawyer, some may offer an hourly fee rate. You’ll be charged a certain amount of money for any work the law firm does to assist you in filing a personal injury lawsuit. Hourly fee arrangements are typically for those who wish to file their own lawsuit and only want a lawyer to help them with certain aspects of the case.
How Expensive is a Washington State Car Accident Lawyer Explained
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. Usually, when you hire a law firm to handle your case, you won’t have any out-of-pocket expenses to worry about. Your job is to heal and work on recovering from your injuries, and their job is to fight for you to get the highest possible compensation for your damages.
Contingency fees work well for both you and the law firm. The bigger the settlement amount they can get for you will result in a bigger percentage of it for the law firm. Be leery of any lawyer who asks for a retainer or any other upfront fees. This could be an indication that you have a weak case.
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