There are more than 6.75 million car accidents in the US every year. If you happen to be unlucky, be it a minor injury or a serious one, you deserve a lawyer who can best represent your court of law and get you the justice you deserve. It is essential to know how much an Atlanta car accident lawyer costs, and this article will help you with just that.
There are certain things you need to know right at the beginning:
- If your accident happened due to someone else’s negligence, you deserve to be compensated.
- You can seek compensation by filing an insurance claim against the reckless driver for auto insurance since Georgia is an at-fault state
- Like any other business, insurance companies are driven by profit-making establishments. They will look for various reasons to deny your claims. Getting yourself the right lawyer can be the difference between losing and winning your case. Be sure to pick wisely.
- Read the fine print before signing any documents related to the lawyers’ fees and expenses! It’s always better to be safe than sorry later.
Car Accident Lawyer Fee in Atlanta, GA
A majority of the lawyers who work in this sphere of law work under a “contingency fee” agreement, which essentially means that their pay comes from your car insurance settlement. Rather than taking an hourly fee, they will get paid a percentage of the insurance money you win your claim.
There can be varying amounts of money that personal injury lawyers take or receive and a contingency fee, but it usually ranges from 25% to 40%. A 1/3 or 33% of the insurance claim is also a pretty normal number to settle on. An example of this will be if you get $80,000, recovery on your insurance, at a 33% contingency, you will have to pay your car accident lawyer around $26,400.
There are several more variables to consider other than this. If you settle with the driver who caused the accident before you went to court and a personal injury lawsuit has not been filed, then the percentage the lawyer takes may be lesser. However, if the personal injury suit has already been filed and the trial has begun in court and/or the jury goes ahead with the trial, and a verdict is reached in your favor – the amount of percentage the lawyer has a claim on could go all the way up to 40%.
Thus, one can see why it would be necessary to have a lengthy conversation with your lawyer about what the contingency fee is going to be at each step of the process. Reviewing the document once things have been finalized before you sign the dotted line is also a big must.
If you have plenty of evidence against the offender, the damages are apparent, and the defendant has ample car insurance, feel free to negotiate a lower contingency percentage lower with your lawyer.
Do Some Lawyers Use a Different Method?
While contingency fees are the most common types of fees in car accident cases, some lawyers may take some money as an initial retainer at the get-go, and then at the end, when you get your settlement, take a contingent fee.
Remember to cut the initial retainer they took from the amount of contingency you give them at the end. For example, if you paid them a retainer of $3,000 and the contingency fee comes up to $38,000 at the end, subtract the $3,000.
Other Expenses in Car Accident Cases
Based on the personal injury lawyer you decide to hire to tend to your legal proceedings, the upfront court fees and things like the cost of getting your medical record, cost of availing police reports, expert witness fees, and other miscellaneous fees may or may not be things you need to put away extra cash for.
If the contract you signed with the car accident lawyer requires you to pay the various fees that come up as the case proceeds, the firm you are associated with will surely call you up and seek payment for the fees that need to be dealt with. In some cases, if you cannot pay these fees, the case may not proceed until these payments have been made. This is usually the case with smaller firms.
Large firms that deal with personal injury cases like car accidents often cover all these expenses. That being said, it is deducted from the later settlement and the contingency fee that is to be paid.
For example, if the court verdict gives you a $90,000 insurance claim, and the contingency is $30,000 or 1/3 of the total, the expenses the firm paid for things like reports on your medical history and police reports needs about an $8,000 compensation. For this, you will have to pay the firm $30,000 in addition to the $8,000, which comes up to $38,000. At the end of the proceedings and after paying the lawyer, you would be left with about $52,000.
If the firm insists on taking a fee before the main contingency fee has been paid, this may be bad news as they might take more than they need to. So be sure to settle the contingency fee from the net total of your settlement before paying the extra fees. This will make it easier to track how the money math works. If the firm is unwilling to abide by this rule, finding a different lawyer might be best for you.
Do You Really Need A Car Accident Lawyer in Atlanta, GA?
The general rule of thumb is that the more serious the damage, the better to get yourself a lawyer. If you happen to be injured and need medical treatment, your case value becomes more. The insurance adjusters will try to do all they can to lessen the amount of money they have to cough up in a settlement. So, in such scenarios, it is best to hire a professional Atlanta personal injury lawyer to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.