When you are in a car accident and decide that it is necessary to bring an attorney into the mix, you might have a little stress surrounding the decision. Most people do not have a reference for the costs associated with attorneys and other legal fees, and they often assume that charges will be out-of-pocket. However, that is not always the case. There are four typical payment agreements with car accident attorneys.
1. Standard Contingency Arrangements
The good news for most accident victims is that most attorneys fighting these types of cases represent clients on a contingency basis. Therefore, your lawyer will only get paid if you receive a settlement or win at trial. These agreements are typically designed for a specific percentage of the settlement or award, 20% to 40%. However, it is necessary to understand that contingency fees account for the hiring of an attorney, there will still be other expenses that need to be covered at the end of the trial.
2. Flat Fees
Flat fees are another possible option when hiring an attorney for a car accident claim, although less likely. If you find an attorney willing to work on a flat fee basis, they will usually limit the amount of time and work they put into your case, which will be spelled out in your contract. Flat fees are often used when you only need an attorney for specific, minor tasks, like preparing a demand letter.
3. Hourly Rates
Hourly rates are typical among most attorneys. However, for plaintiffs in car accident cases, most lawyers prefer the contingency fee agreement. Although, for defendants in a car accident case, the hourly fee structure is standard. If you are the defendant in such a case, you can likely expect to pay anywhere between $100 and $500 per hour, depending on skill and experience.
4. Retainer and Contingency
Another popular option for attorneys is the retainer and contingency hybrid agreement. In this agreement, a client will pay a retainer upfront, typically between $300 and $3,000. The lawyer then argues the case, and if they receive a settlement or win the case, they will claim the contingency fee less the retainer.
Hiring a lawyer for a car accident claim does not have to be immediately expensive. The most popular payment option for plaintiffs in such cases is the contingency fee arrangement. However, if you are the defendant, then you might need to pay hourly.