How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
Injuries after a car accident can be very expensive and frustrating. Hiring a lawyer can help accident victims make sure that they get the compensation they deserve, but it can also be intimidating. Many victims fear that retaining a lawyer will be just another expense they have no way to pay. Luckily, this isn’t true. Most reputable personal injury attorneys are paid through contingency fees that they only get after they have won or settled your case.
What are Contingency Fees?
Rather than working for an hourly rate, most personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency basis. This means that they do not get paid until after a settlement or trial victory but rather receive a portion of your check after the case has concluded. For Michigan No-Fault (auto accident) cases, this portion will not exceed 33%. If you choose to work with an attorney, your contract will include the percentage they are due when you win.
Contingency Fees Benefit Clients
Car accidents can be very difficult financially, especially when an injury prevents a victim from returning to work. Hospital bills, prescription costs, and replacement services can be overwhelming. The last thing accident victims need is another bill and no way to pay it. Contingency fees allow lawyers to forgo upfront payment and only collect once the victims received their check.
This system puts the risk of pursuing compensation onto the lawyer and law firm. They are investing their time without a guarantee of payment. This means that if a lawyer takes on your case, they believe that they can win it.
If your attorney is working on a contingency basis, they will also likely work as hard as they can to ensure your winnings are as high as possible. Because the fees are a percentage of your winnings, their own payment will increase with the verdict or settlement amount. Contingency fees are a great incentive that motivate lawyers to win big for their clients.
In addition to contingency fees, some lawyers may ask for reimbursement for their litigation costs. These costs may include things like:
- Filing Fee: Michigan courts will charge varying fees depending on where you file.
- Collecting Evidence: To win a personal injury case, your lawyer must prove that the other party is at fault for your injuries. This may require them to acquire a police report, medical records, witness statements, and other records.
- Expert Witnesses: Doctors, mental health professionals, automotive experts, and other sources may be asked to make a report on your claim.
- Depositions: A court reporter will need to be hired to produce a record of any depositions.
- Other Costs: Postage, creating copies, and other small costs can add up during a case, especially those with extensive documentation.
These costs vary widely from case to case. While it may take several expert witnesses to prove injury and fault after some accidents, others may be much more clear-cut.
Typically, when the case is won or settled, these costs are taken out of the client’s check. If your lawyer does not win your case, they may absorb the costs themselves or charge you for them. It is wise to ask a potential car accident attorney who will pay these costs before signing any contracts.
The Value of Legal Representation
While hiring a car accident attorney may seem costly, it may not require you to pay anything out of pocket. Lawyers that work on a contingency fee basis only receive compensation if you get a check as well.
Retaining a lawyer can also help increase your compensation. Experienced attorneys know how to fight insurance companies and are aware of all your paths to further damages. In many circumstances, the most obvious guilty party is not the only one to blame. If, for instance, you were hit by a drunk driver, the alcohol vendor that sold to them may also be liable under Michigan dram shop law. Car accident cases are complicated, but lawyers can help you figure out your best plan of action.
To learn more about the benefits of hiring an attorney, check out this article.
Good Questions to Ask
If you are considering hiring a lawyer after a car accident, you may be unsure how to determine if they are trustworthy or not. Being proactive and asking your lawyer tough questions can help you figure out if they are the right attorney for you. Some good questions to ask a car accident lawyer before hiring them include:
- Will I have to pay any fees if we lose?
- Who will be handling my case? Will it be you or will you assign it to someone else?
- How much do you think my case could be worth?
- How long do you think my case will take?
- Do you think my case will go to trial?
- Will going to trial involve any additional fees?
- Do you work on a contingency basis? If so, what percentage do you charge?
Looking for a Lawyer?
If you were hurt in an accident, you may be feeling overwhelmed with hospital bills, prescription costs, and other incidental expenses. At the Mike Morse Law Firm, we know that car accidents can be a massive, unexpected financial burden. That’s why we never charge a client until after we have won or settled their case. Call us today at 855-MIKE-WINS (855-645-3946) or contact us through our website to set up a free consultation.