If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident that wasn't your fault, one of your first questions may be, "Are car accident lawyers free?" The short answer is, in the care of Morgan & Morgan, you won't pay anything until you win your case or a settlement is paid.
There are so many things to think about after suffering in a serious accident. With so much to worry about and consider, it can be hard to make decisions that are in your best interests, like getting the proper medical care or even speaking to a lawyer about your accident.
This is one reason why it's very important to retain car accident lawyers as soon as possible to advise you about the legal aspects of your case so that you can feel comfortable and confident in the steps that you take to protect your interests. While no two car accident cases are the same, there is one common thread that applies to most personal injury attorneys. This is that personal injury attorneys tend to charge on a contingency fee basis.
Understanding Contingency Fees
When you meet with a divorce attorney or a criminal defense attorney, they will likely either ask for a retainer, which is an upfront payment with a set amount, or for a certain block of hours. The attorney then bills against that retainer and pays themselves in this manner based on the work they do for your case. They might also choose to charge you on an hourly basis after the retainer is run through or in lieu of the retainer. This means that you will have to pay an upfront flat fee or hourly invoices as received from your attorney.
Personal injury cases, however, charge you on a contingency fee. This means personal injury attorneys only accept a percentage of the winnings if they are successful in negotiating a settlement or recovery on your behalf through a trial verdict. If the lawyer is unsuccessful in getting you a positive outcome, you do not pay for their services. However, you may need to pay for their expenses over the course of the lawsuit, such as the cost of making copies or mailing out letters associated with your legal claim. In this way, it is possible to think of your attorney as a free car accident lawyer because there is very little risk to you to be able to hire an attorney to help with your legal case.
A free car accident lawyer will likely sit down with you at the outset of your case to discuss some of the specifics of your legal claim. They will help explain to you what you can expect once you file a legal case, and will give you an agreement that includes their contingency fee. Contingency fees vary but are usually between 25% and 30% of a final settlement amount. You'll need to factor this in when considering possible jury verdict outcomes or settlement amounts proposed by the other side because you want to ensure there is plenty of money left over to pay for your medical bills and to compensate you for the other damages and impacts of the accident.
A free car accident lawyer does not mean that your attorney does not have experience. Instead, it typically means that you're working with a personal injury attorney, who has such vast experience that they understand what makes a strong case. Because lawyers have the potential to lose a great deal of time and effort put into cases accepted on a contingency fee basis when they are unsuccessful, many of them will carefully screen their cases to make sure that it is a good fit before deciding to sign you on.
What to Look for in a Personal Injury Lawyer
When you're seeking a free car accident lawyer to guide you through your case, it is imperative to understand their specific legal experience and the portion of their practice that is dedicated to personal injury. You have a lot at stake with the outcome of your personal injury case, and a free car accident lawyer should be dedicated to working hard on behalf of the best outcome for you.
This is true whether or not that outcome is achieved through settlement or through a trial result. You want to make sure that you have an attorney who has experience with both, so that your lawyer is equally prepared to advocate for your best interests in a settlement conversation and to take your case to trial if need be. Ask your attorney about other similar car accident cases they have handled to get a better understanding of their approach and strategy in these particular situations. You deserve to know if the lawyer will be working with you directly or if the case will be handled by other attorneys or paralegals in the firm.
This will become especially important as your communication increases with the law firm during the course of the trial. It is very important that you feel confident in your attorney's legal abilities to represent you. Keep this in mind when you are hiring a free car accident lawyer. No lawyer can predict a positive outcome in your case, nor can he or she recommend a specific period of time in which your case will be fully resolved. However, a knowledgeable attorney with a significant amount of background in this field will have a good idea of some of the legal issues at play and will be prepared to work hard on your behalf. They may be able to give you a range of resolution time depending on whether or not the case ends up going to trial.
No matter how you choose to proceed, you deserve to have an attorney who cares about the outcome of your case. You should not just be another client and you should also be looking for an attorney or law firm that has a strong track record of getting results for car accident clients. If testimonials are not available on the law firm's website, ask for more information and read reviews from previous clients to understand some of the outcomes they have obtained.
Some attorneys focus primarily on getting to a settlement amount which may be in your best interests if you want to close this chapter of your life and move on. Other attorneys are experienced and feared litigators, which can make it much easier if you have a complex case or believe that there will be an uphill battle for the legal claim in your situation.