One of the first things our new clients ask our car accident lawyers in Atlanta when they first meet is how much it costs to retain our law firm. This is true even though there are dozens of commercials on television every day where personal injury lawyers insist that you pay nothing upfront.
In a way, they are right. However, that does not mean you aren’t responsible for some of the fees and expenses associated with your case. There are certain things that our car accident lawyers in Atlanta have to charge you for.
Here, we will explain what these things are. We will also explain how a contingency fee works. If you still have questions about your own car accident case, give us a call. We can schedule your free, initial consultation right over the phone. Or, if you prefer, you can always go to our website and schedule your appointment online.
Your Car Accident Lawyer in Atlanta Will Not Charge You Anything Upfront
When your accident attorney in Atlanta tells you that you don’t have to pay them anything upfront, they are telling the truth. Technically, you do not have to pay your car accident lawyer in Atlanta a dime to represent you. They are paid when your case settles or when your judgment is paid.
However, just because your attorney isn’t charging you a fee upfront, that doesn’t mean you won’t have to pay a dime until your case settles.
You Will Have to Pay Certain Fees and Costs Along the Way
While you don’t have to pay your accident attorney in Atlanta anything to retain their services, you will be expected to pay for certain things. For example, in Atlanta, it costs you to file a civil complaint against someone. When you file your complaint, you will also need to pay to have it served on the defendants.
Since your car accident lawyer in Atlanta will need to name both the other driver and the insurance carrier in the complaint, you’ll have to pay to serve both parties. Sometimes, you need to do this via personal service which can be pricey. Other times, you can satisfy the service requirement by having it delivered via certified mail.
What Fees Will You Be Responsible For?
For the most part, you will not have to pay your car accident lawyer in Atlanta anything upfront. However, there are some fees you may have to pay if you want to sue someone in civil court. These include the following:
- Filing fees and costs
- Copies and postage
- Certified copies of documents from the court
- Court stenographer/reporter fee
- Exhibits for trial
- Expert witnesses
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. There are many other things you may have to pay for. Just to put things into perspective, in Atlanta, it costs $214 to file a complaint. You’ll also have to pay $8 for each additional defendant.
In addition, you will have to pay at least $58 to serve a copy of the complaint on the defendants. These things can add up. That’s why it’s in your best interest to settle your case as early as possible.
Your Accident Attorney in Atlanta Is Paid on a Contingency Basis
As explained earlier, you will have to pay certain costs and fees. However, your car accident lawyer in Atlanta is not paid their fee for handling the case until the end. If your accident attorney in Atlanta can negotiate a settlement with the insurance company without filing suit, they will only charge you a 30% contingency fee. If you need to file suit, that percentage will increase to 40%.
It’s important to understand how your attorney is paid. When you settle your case, you will more than likely receive a lump sum payment. The first thing that must be paid is your lawyer’s contingency fee.
For example, if you settle for $500,000 and your attorney’s fee is 30%, they will take their $150,000 right from the top. That will leave you with $350,000. Once your attorney has been paid their contingency fee, you will need to reimburse the firm any fees or costs that have not yet been paid. Let’s say this comes to $20,000. You will now have $330,000.
You Will Also Need to Reimburse the Insurance Company and Medical Providers
You will need to pay any outstanding medical bills and other invoices related to your car accident. In fact, your accident attorney in Atlanta has a duty to ensure that they are paid. Imagine that these total $120,000. Once this is paid, you will still have $210,000. Unless there are other amounts owed, this is what you will home.
Our Car Accident Lawyers in Atlanta Will Explain How They Are Paid During Your Free, Initial Consultation
One of the reasons some people wait so long to talk to a car accident lawyer in Atlanta is that they’re afraid it will cost too much. Sure, you see the ads on television promising that you don’t have to pay your accident attorney in Atlanta a dime until they settle your case. However, that kind of statement can be a bit misleading.
It is true that you won’t have to pay your lawyer an hourly rate. In fact, your attorney will even offer you a free, initial consultation. Along the way, however, you’ll be expected to pay for certain expenses.
We have briefly touched on the fees and cost you’ll be responsible for here. And, as we explained earlier, some car accident lawyers in Atlanta do not even ask their clients to reimburse them for these expenses until after your case has been settled. It all depends on the particular of your case and the terms of your contingency agreement.
If you think you may have a legal claim against the other driver involved in your car crash, give us a call. We will arrange for you to come into the office and sit down with one of our experienced accident attorneys in Atlanta. They can explain how your agreement works and let you know if they think your case is worth pursuing.