The aftermath of a car accident can be expensive. You may have to pay out of pocket for medical care deductibles, vehicle repairs and a rental car, on top of dealing with lost wages from taking days off work. The last thing you may want is to add another expense by hiring a San Diego car accident lawyer. Yet, a personal injury attorney might be exactly what you need to recover fair compensation for your damages. Find out what a lawyer might cost you, as well as when it might be worth hiring one.
What Does Contingency Fee Basis Mean?
Most personal injury lawyers’ websites explain that the law firm accepts cases on a contingency fee basis. This is a common payment arrangement within personal injury law. The contingency fee setup helps make hiring a lawyer more affordable for accident victims. Lawyers understand the financial strife that can befall accident victims and wish to ease this pressure, not add to it. To do so, most personal injury lawyers offer their services on a start now, pay later basis.
If a lawyer offers services on contingency, it means you will only have to pay the lawyer’s service fees if he or she wins your case. If the lawyer is unable to obtain positive results, you will not have to pay for the services he or she rendered in trying to resolve your case. You will walk away without compensation, but also without a large legal bill on top of your other expenses.
Contingency fees mean you will not take on any of the financial risk of bringing a claim. If you do not receive compensation for your damages, you do not have to pay. If your car accident lawyer does win your case, you still do not have to pay his or her fees out of pocket. With a contingency fee payment arrangement, you will pay your attorney using a portion of the settlement or jury verdict obtained. The percentage of the final award your lawyer will keep as his or her fee will depend on the attorney and your injury case. Your lawyer should work out the details of the payment arrangement with you before you sign a contract to retain him or her.
A contingency fee payment arrangement can make hiring a car accident attorney much more affordable in the aftermath of a serious crash. Keep in mind, however, that you may still have to pay for certain things, such as filing fees, expert witness fees and other litigation expenses as they arise. Some personal injury lawyers charge hourly instead of using the contingency fee arrangement. Ask a potential attorney for a complete breakdown of what he or she charges before retaining services. At The Law Office of Hoard Kitay we serve all clients on a contingency fee basis.
Does Your San Diego Car Accident Case Require an Attorney?
Even if a contingency fee arrangement makes it easier to pay for a lawyer, you might not need one depending on the nature of your claim. If you have a simple claim involving only minor injuries or property damages, you might not need to hire an attorney to take over case negotiations on your behalf. You may be able to negotiate a fair settlement award from the at-fault driver’s insurance company on your own and save money on legal fees. If, however, you have serious injuries, the odds of an insurance company not treating you fairly are higher.
A car accident involving life-altering injuries, permanent disfigurement, loss of limb or wrongful death might require help from a lawyer to obtain fair results for you as a victim. Many insurance companies do not take claims seriously until the claimant has hired an attorney. The insurer might significantly undervalue your injuries, putting you at risk of accepting a smaller figure than your damages demand. Working with an attorney can help you avoid accepting a lowball settlement after a San Diego car accident. Your car accident lawyer can negotiate with the insurer for a better final award amount, or else take your case to trial in pursuit of fair damages – all while keeping your budget and goals in mind.