If you were recently in a car wreck, it’s likely that you’ll be needing legal help. The issue that many people face is that they aren’t sure of what that will cost. Then there’s the question of whether they will be successful.
An Atlanta car crash lawyer should prioritize your goals in the case and listen to your side of the story. When it comes to crashes, insurance companies and the other driver may make it seem like you had a larger part in the wreck. They may also try to show that you don’t need compensation. These issues are nearly impossible to fight on your own.
Hiring A Car Crash Lawyer in Atlanta
In Atlanta, GA you have a few aspects to consider when hiring a lawyer. First, of course, you want someone experienced. Second, you want someone nearby, but third, you want someone who is open about their fees. If you can’t get a clear answer about their fees, or percentages, move on to another law office.
Most lawyers work based on a contingency fee where they only collect payment if you win your case. A judge declaring the case “in your favor” may come with or without a settlement. So winning your case might not always come with the payout you expected.
A contingency fee starts with an agreement, usually on a percentage. You and the lawyer agree that after the case is won, you will pay a percentage of your settlement to the law office. In some cases, this agreement will have a backup plan for if you win the case but not a settlement.
The idea behind contingency fee-based pricing is that the lawyer will work hard to win your case because their check depends on it. You will have peace of mind that they’re working for you.
For example, if you receive a payout of $100,000 as compensation, you will probably pay your attorney somewhere between $25,000 and $40,000.
Contingency Fee Details
Most contingency fees come with a schedule. In GA, the most common percentage is 33% or one-third of your winnings. But there is also the timeline to consider.
- If a case closes with a settlement before your lawyer has to file a lawsuit, your contingency fee should be lower. Typically these cases have a 25% fee.
- Then if your lawsuit goes to court, but settles prior to the trial, you should see about a 33% fee.
- Finally, if your case goes through trial and requires much more work for the lawyer, you might see as high as a 40% fee.
Other Fees and Alternative Payment Methods
When lawyers aren’t entirely certain about a case, they may prefer to take a retainer. A retainer fee is what most people are afraid of and why they avoid hiring an attorney. If a car crash lawyer is using a retainer fee with a contingency fee, it should count towards their final payment.
For example, if you paid a $2,000 retainer fee, then won a $100,000 settlement, and agreed to a 33% contingency, that $2,000 should count toward the final $33,000. Law firms will almost never use flat-fee payment systems except for extremely simple cases such as responding to a demand letter.
In addition to contingency fees or other payment options that you’ll work out with your lawyer beforehand, you have other expenses.
Common expenses in a case include:
- Court filing fees
- Cost of serving a summons
- Cost of issuing
- Cost of acquiring medical records
- Cost of obtaining police reports
- Court reporter fee
It Will Cost More if You Go to Trial
More than 95% of all personal injury lawsuits settle. That’s because nobody wants to go to trial – not your car accident lawyer in Atlanta or the defendant’s attorney. Trials take a lot of time and are expensive. Plus, it can take more than a year just to get a trial scheduled. The court dockets are so full, especially now that COVID caused delays. You may not go before a judge until the end of next year. Plus, the judge is going to force you to go to mediation anyway. Rather than wait for that to happen and waste thousands of dollars on court fees, just let your lawyer try to settle it early on.
You Don’t Have to Pay Anything Upfront
The good thing about hiring your car accident lawyer in Atlanta is that it costs you nothing upfront. You can sit down and meet with your lawyer first to decide how you want to proceed with your case. Your attorney isn’t going to charge you anything until your case is resolved. Once your case settles, your attorney will get their standard percentage. For example, if your case doesn’t go to trial, you’ll pay one-third of your award or settlement. If, on the other hand, your case goes to trial, that percentage typically increases to 40%. That’s because it’ll cost a lot more and take up an awful lot more of your lawyer’s time if it goes to trial. They need to be fairly compensated for this.
You’ll Have to Sign a Retainer Agreement
If you decide to retain a car accident lawyer in Atlanta, you’ll have to sign a retainer agreement. This will outline how much your lawyer will charge. It also highlights the contingency fee your attorney will charge. Without this agreement, your attorney won’t be able to represent you. This document will also outline what your responsibilities are. For example, you’ll have to show up for any hearings or settlement conferences the court schedules. You’ll have to comply with any doctor’s appointments your lawyer sets up for you.
Reach Out To An Atlanta Car Crash Lawyer
When you’re looking for the right lawyer for your case, be sure to watch out for payment agreements. It’s not easy to say how much a lawyer will cost you before your case closes. But it is easy to compare fees from one office to another.
Be sure to ask any lawyer you speak with to explain the fee’s under every possible circumstance. Then work with them to decide what your goals are in this case. If you want to take a settlement, then the lawyer should put that goal above going to trial.
However, if you’re looking to reach a particular number when it comes to compensation you may need to prepare to pay higher legal fees.
Call The Weinstein Firm to get in touch with a Georgia car crash lawyer regarding a consultation now. You can assess what your goals are and learn more about the likelihood of your case.