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How Much Does a Lawyer Cost for a Car Accident?

If you’ve been injured in a car accident that was someone else’s fault, you may be wondering how much does a lawyer cost for a car accident and how much will you need to pay in order to receive the compensation you deserve. This is an important question to ask, as legal fees can add up quickly. The good news is that most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis for car accident cases. Here’s what you need to know about lawyer fees and what a contingency arrangement means for your case.

Contingency Fee Agreements

The most common fee structure for car accident lawyers is called a contingency fee agreement. This means that you don’t pay any fees upfront. Instead, your lawyer only gets paid if you receive a settlement or award from the negligent party.

Here’s how it works:

  • You and your lawyer agree to a percentage amount that the lawyer will receive from any settlement or court award. This is their fee for representing you.
  • Your lawyer fronts all costs related to pursuing your claim, such as filing fees, expert witness fees, investigation fees, etc. These costs will be deducted from the settlement or award first.
  • If you lose the case, you don’t owe your lawyer any fees at all. You only pay if you win compensation.

Contingency fee agreements shift the risk from the client to the lawyer. The lawyer only gets paid if you recover damages. This gives them incentive to build the strongest case possible to maximize your compensation. It also means that they will usually only take on cases that they are sure they can win.

Average Contingency Fee Percentages

The typical contingency fee percentage ranges from 33% to 40% of your gross recovery amount. However, there are some factors that may influence the percentage. These include:

  • Case complexity – More complex cases often warrant a higher percentage fee. Simple cases may have lower percentages.
  • Expenses – If a case requires paying for many expert witnesses, investigations, etc., the lawyer may seek a higher percentage to cover costs.
  • Settlement vs trial – Cases settled before trial often have lower percentages than cases that go to trial. Trial is more work for the lawyer.
  • State laws – Some states cap contingency fees at certain percentages, such as 33% or 45%.

Always make sure you understand the percentage amount before signing a contingency agreement. Don’t hesitate to negotiate if you feel the initial amount seems too high.

Additional Expenses

In addition to the lawyer’s contingency fee percentage, you may also be responsible for certain case-related expenses. These are costs your lawyer pays upfront and then deducts from your settlement or award. Common expenses include:

  • Court filing fees
  • Process server fees
  • Investigation fees
  • Medical expert witness fees
  • Accident reconstructionist fees
  • Medical record copy fees
  • Deposition transcript fees

Some lawyers will front all case expenses as part of the contingency agreement. Others may ask you to contribute to costs or reimburse them if you lose the case. Be sure to understand the expense arrangement upfront and ask questions if you’re unsure.

Estimating Total Attorney Fees

It’s difficult to estimate the total attorney fees for a car accident case until you know the value of your claim. As an example, let’s look at some scenarios:

Settlement offer of $50,000

  • Attorney fee at 33% contingency: $16,500
  • Expenses: $3,000
  • You receive: $30,500

Jury award of $100,000

  • Attorney fee at 40% contingency: $40,000
  • Expenses: $5,000
  • Total attorney fees: $45,000
  • You receive: $55,000

As you can see, the higher the settlement or award amount, the higher the total attorney fees will be. But you also maximize your own recovery.

Do You Need a Lawyer?

After a car accident, insurance adjusters may be quick to offer a fast settlement amount to get you to sign away your right to pursue further compensation. Having an experienced Dallas car accident lawyer ensures you understand your full legal rights and don’t settle for less than full case value.

An attorney also levels the playing field against big insurance companies, handling negotiations and building leverage so you can maximize your settlement. For serious injuries, having legal representation is critical.

Even for minor soft tissue injuries, hiring a lawyer often results in recovering higher damages that more than cover attorney fees. And there’s no risk with a contingency fee agreement – you pay nothing unless your lawyer wins compensation for you.

Contact a Dallas Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident caused by someone else, the experienced car accident lawyers at Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys can help. We have over 65 years of experience fighting for maximum compensation for injury victims in Dallas and throughout Texas.

We work on a contingency fee basis and advance all case expenses, so you pay nothing until we win your case. To discuss your situation in a free consultation, contact a car accident lawyer Dallas Texas at Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys today at (800) 4-THEWIN.