How Much Does a Car Accident Lawyer Cost?

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How Much Does a Car Accident Lawyer Cost?

from feeling safe and comfortable to facing multiple sources of anxiety.

At a minimum, you need to worry about how you will repair or replace your car, pay for medical costs, and recover from your injuries. None of these expenses are cheap, especially if you were involved in a serious accident.

When you are facing all of that stress, the last thing you want is more stress. But all too often the insurance company that should help you through this crisis adds even more stress with additional red tape or unreasonable deadlines. Even worse, it might deny your claim, leaving you in financial peril.

The best way to avoid that fate is to hire a car accident lawyer who has experience dealing with insurance companies. But for many people, this creates a new fear. Attorneys have a reputation for being expensive and many people reasonably assume that car accident lawyers are equally costly.

While that may be a reasonable assumption, it’s not necessarily true. Before you decide that you can’t afford a car accident lawyer, you should consult with an attorney to find out exactly how much they will cost and what you will gain from hiring a lawyer.

If you have been seriously injured in a car accident, contact the attorneys at Morgan & Morgan to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about our fee structure.

The Cost of Not Having a Car Accident Lawyer

One of the things that you may not realize is that there’s a significant cost to not hiring a car accident attorney after suffering an injury in an accident. Typically, people who aren’t represented by a lawyer receive significantly less compensation than those who are represented.

This is primarily because car accident lawyers have experience dealing with insurance companies and the claims process. This experience means that your claim is less likely to be denied when an attorney is representing you.

Furthermore, attorneys also increase the average settlement offers that insurers make after an accident. Typically, you will receive thousands of dollars more if you are represented by a lawyer. And in some cases, you may receive millions more when an attorney is representing you.

If you choose not to hire a lawyer after an accident, the difference in compensation that you receive is effectively the money you spent to go it alone. And since that difference is often multiple thousands of dollars, it is almost impossible for a lawyer to cost more than not having one.

Car Accident Lawyers Don’t Cost What You Think They Do

Most people think that all lawyers are paid using the same fee structure. What you probably don’t realize, though, is that lawyers who practice civil law are typically paid differently from attorneys who practice corporate or criminal law.

Criminal lawyers, in particular, are usually paid an hourly rate. That hourly rate differs for every attorney, but most criminal lawyers make a few hundred dollars per hour of work. And many receive a large retainer in advance to cover a significant portion of the hours they expect to work on the case.

Car accident lawyers aren’t criminal attorneys; they are civil attorneys. And like most lawyers who work on civil cases, they are not paid in advance. In fact, depending on the outcome of your case, your car accident lawyer might never be paid for their services.

The Basics of Contingency Fees

Car accident attorneys work on contingency. This means that they are not paid a flat rate based on the number of hours they work. In fact, it’s just the opposite. The amount they are eventually paid doesn’t reflect the hours worked in any way.

Instead, the fee that a car accident lawyer receives is based on how much compensation you receive at the end of your case. In other words, the more money you make from your claim, the more money your lawyer will eventually get.

Your Initial Meeting Is Free

The first time you contact Morgan and Morgan, one of our lawyers will schedule a case evaluation. Typically, we have this meeting at our office. But if you are too injured to leave the hospital or are homebound, we can send an attorney to you.

During this initial meeting, we will discuss the circumstances of your accident. Our attorney wants to hear your story and understand what happened from your perspective.

Once our attorney understands the events of the day and the consequences of the accident, they will determine whether you have a legitimate claim for compensation. If you do, we will agree to take your case. Even if we don’t take your case, we won’t charge you a fee for this meeting.

Having agreed to take your case, we will explain your options to move forward with your case. Regardless of what option you eventually choose, we will usually assign an investigator to find evidence that supports your claim. Typically, this investigation takes a few days, so we want to get it started immediately.

Finally, if you haven’t already filed a claim with the insurance company, we will get that process started. If you have already filed, we will contact the insurer and let them know that we’re representing you. Once that’s done, we will lay out a road map for the remainder of the claims process.

As previously noted, you will never receive a bill for this initial meeting, regardless of the outcome.

The End of Your Claim

Typically, it will take a few weeks for your Morgan & Morgan attorney to finish working on your case. You will receive regular updates on how your case is progressing and the approximate timetable for resolution. You will not, however, receive any bills during this time.

If your case ends in the usual fashion, we will negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company. A fair settlement pays for all of your current and future medical bills and covers any other expenses or losses that you suffered due to the accident.

In some rare cases, we are not able to reach a settlement deal with the insurance company. When that happens, your case will go to trial. A trial usually extends the duration of your claim to a year or more. However, if we win at trial, you will likely get even more money than you would have gotten from a settlement.

The only way you won’t get money is if the insurance company denies your claim and we can’t win money for you at trial. This outcome is extremely uncommon because we know how to evaluate cases and only accept cases that we believe have a strong claim.

In the improbable scenario that we don’t win you compensation, you will never receive a bill for our services, no matter how many hours our car accident lawyers spent working on your case. That is our guarantee to all clients.

However, if we do win compensation for you, we will take our fee once you have been paid. Our fee is a modest percentage of the money that we win for you, whether at trial or through a negotiated settlement.

The percentage we take does not depend on the amount of time we spend working on your case. It is a static percentage that we both agree to when we first take your case. The only thing that increases the value of our fee is the value of the compensation we obtain for you.

The Costs of Medical Treatment

Even relatively minor injuries usually cost a few thousand dollars once you take into account:

  • Accommodations or equipment (like crutches)
  • Ambulance transportation fees
  • Emergency room fees
  • Follow-up visits
  • Lost wages

If you require an ambulance ride, a single emergency room visit, and a single follow-up doctor’s appointment, it’s likely your bills will total around $10,000. Much more serious injuries often cost as much as ten times that, and a lifelong injury can easily cost more than $1 million to fully treat.

Without a car accident lawyer, you are likely to receive half (or even less) than you deserve in compensation.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

  • Is It Worth Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer?

    It is almost always worth hiring a car accident attorney. People not represented by an attorney often receive half (or less) than those who are represented. Unless the attorney takes half of your settlement for their fee, you should get more compensation for your injury by hiring a lawyer. 

    At Morgan and Morgan, we take significantly less than 50% as our contingency fee.

    Furthermore, if we believe that we can’t significantly increase the compensation you’ll receive, we will tell you during your initial case evaluation. We don’t want to cheat you out of money. We want to help you earn the money you need so you can recover comfortably.

  • Does the Contingency Fee Ever Change?

    Some law firms charge a higher contingency fee if your case goes to trial. However, this will never come as a surprise. Your attorney will explain the fee structure before they take your case and what would cause the percentage to increase.

    Additionally, the jury award from a trial is usually higher than the amount of money you receive if you accept a settlement offer from the insurance company. Even though the law firm might take a higher percentage of a trial award, you will probably net more money if you win at trial.

  • How Will I Get Paid at the End of My Claim?

    Typically, the insurance company will send you a check to cover the full amount of your settlement or jury award. Some insurance companies might transfer the money to you electronically. You might also receive partial payments before a final amount is determined if you already have bills piling up.

    Depending on the insurance company, you might also be able to opt for the insurer to send the money directly to your attorney. They will take their cut and then forward the rest to you. This could be more convenient than getting money and then having to pay your attorney.

  • Don’t Fear the Cost of a Car Accident Lawyer

    Despite what you might have heard, attorneys are more likely to earn you money than cost you money after a car accident. 

    If you have been injured in a car accident, contact Morgan & Morgan today to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about how much money you deserve.

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