One of the most common questions I get from clients is, “how much does it cost to hire a car accident lawyer?” This concern is understandable. An unexpected traumatic event can turn your life upside down. The last thing you need to do is worry about whether you should pursue compensation for your injury or save your money.
Most car accident attorneys, myself included, will take your case on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee is a financial agreement where you pay nothing upfront. Yes, nothing. You only pay if and when you receive a settlement for your claim. If your case does not result in a settlement award, there’s no legal fee.
A contingency fee allows you to focus on your health and all of the other matters that arise as a result of your accident, which may include:
- Pain and suffering.
- Loss of immediate and/or future income. This includes working with your employer or HR department to ensure you get PTO (paid time off), TDI (Temporary Disability Insurance), or FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) if your injury warrants it.
- Car expenses. This might include repair, buying a new car or securing a rental car if necessary.
- Visiting doctors and specialists and/or scheduling medical treatment or surgery.
You’re burdened with so much after a car accident. A contingency fee allows you to focus on the immediate matters in your control while minimizing your worry about the financial expense of hiring a lawyer.
How Contingency Fees Work in Car Accident Claims
The most common contingency fee arrangement for car accidents that move to litigation is one-third of your settlement fee or 33.3%. Depending on the type of the case, the complexity of the litigation, and the likelihood of success, fees can range between 25% and 40%.
If you’re injured in a car accident and have questions about your case, contact our office for a free consultation. Most lawyers—though not all—offer a free, no-obligation consultation. This allows you to discuss the specifics of your car accident with a professional, without having to worry about your finances.
As a general rule, the attorneys who spend thousands on television ads and billboards are the least likely to meet with you to discuss your case. These attorneys operate what’s called “settlement mills.” When you work with a settlement mill, your case is delegated to a paralegal or inexperienced attorney. Settlement mills work on volume. The more cases they get, the more money they make. Moreover, they typically only take on cases that they know they can settle out of court quickly and efficiently—minimizing your settlement and maximizing their profit.
There are rules governing contingency fees in law, outlined in the Rhode Island court system’s “Article V. Rules of Professional Conduct.” As you can see from the excerpt below, all fees must be disclosed and agreed upon upfront.
A contingent fee agreement shall be in a writing signed by the client and shall state the method by which the fee is to be determined, including the percentage or percentages that shall accrue to the lawyer in the event of settlement, trial or appeal; litigation and other expenses to be deducted from the recovery, and whether such expenses are to be deducted before or after the contingent fee is calculated. The agreement must clearly notify the client of any expenses for which the client will be liable whether or not the client is the prevailing party.
Most car accidents have additional costs outside of legal representation. These costs may or may not be taken out of your settlement fee. Make sure to discuss any fees associated with your case ahead of time with your lawyer.
Other costs in your case may include:
- Document filing and prep
- Obtaining medical records
- Locating witnesses, or hiring expert witnesses and investigators
- Costs associated with trial exhibits or depositions
- Other case related costs
How Do I Pay For My Car Accident Lawyer?
As outlined above, when you work with a car accident lawyer that charges a contingency fee, you only pay if and when you receive a settlement. You do not need to pay anything upfront. Again, if our office is unsuccessful in obtaining a settlement for you, you’re not obligated to pay anything, aside from any legal fees incurred above, if applicable.
If we successfully settle your personal injury claim, your legal fee is paid from the money you receive through a settlement or a jury award. So, if the agreed-upon contingency fee is one-third of your settlement and you settle for $100,000, your lawyer will receive $33,330.
Should I Hire A Car Accident Attorney?
When you’re injured in a car accident, one of the first questions you might have is whether or not it’s worth it to hire a lawyer. In my opinion, it is always worth it to have your case evaluated by an experienced car accident lawyer. With more than 35 years of experience handling Rhode Island car accident cases, I’ll advise you on whether or not it’s worth it to pursue a settlement.
Even if you’re involved in a minor accident, there are advantages to getting a free consultation, including:
- Laying the foundation for a successful case. An experienced attorney will let you know if there’s evidence you need to preserve or obtain. Whether it’s locating witnesses, obtaining 911 calls, figuring out if the driver at fault was distracted, or getting medical attention, all of these components can substantially impact your case. When it comes to your accident, time is not on your side. The longer you wait to preserve and gather evidence, the more you risk losing important evidence that could help your case.
- Learn how to handle the insurance company. With an experienced car accident attorney on your side, you’ll be better equipped to handle your insurance company. The insurance company’s number one goal is to deny your claim outright. If that’s not an option, the insurance agent will do everything possible to minimize your car accident settlement.
- Get an expert, unbiased opinion. It’s not uncommon for people to believe they are to blame for a car accident when that isn’t the case. For instance, if you didn’t see a car coming and you hit the car, you might automatically think the accident is your fault. If the car you hit was making an illegal turn, though, the accident is likely the other party’s fault, not yours. Anything you say at the scene or to the insurance adjuster can be used against you. It is in your best interest to say nothing. Whatever you do, never admit fault.
Can I settle a car accident claim without a lawyer?
On average, there are over 16,000 car accidents per day. After a minor car accident, one of the first questions you might consider is if it’s necessary to hire a car accident lawyer or if you can settle the case on your own. Before you make your decision, it’s important to understand the car accident claim process so you can decide whether or not to take matters into your own hands.
How to Settle Your Rhode Island Car Accident Without a Lawyer
Many people want to know if they can settle a car accident without the help of a lawyer. If that’s the route you’re leaning towards, the following information will help you understand what’s involved with settling your case.
Before we go through the action steps involved in settling your car accident case, let’s discuss a few instances where settling your case without a lawyer might be a good idea.
5 Reasons You Might Not Need a Car Accident Lawyer
- If the accident results in no injuries or damages.
- If you’re at fault in the car accident.
- If you’re skilled at negotiation and/or you have in-depth knowledge about insurance companies.
- You have lots of time to devote to settling your case.
- If you don’t want to be compensated for your injuries or damages.
While the above reasons might prohibit you from needing a lawyer, it’s always in your best interest to take advantage of a free consultation. Call or text Carl P. DeLuca, Attorney at Law, at 401-384-0355.
How To Navigate A Car Accident Without a Lawyer
After your car accident, call the police and get medical attention as soon as possible. Documenting your accident and any resulting injuries will establish a clear timeline of the incident and provide valuable insight that might come in handy in the future. Even if you don’t need medical attention, it’s always a good idea to get checked out by a doctor. Sometimes the pain associated with an accident doesn’t show up for a few days or weeks. Without a medical record, it can be difficult to associate your pain and suffering with the accident.
The next step after getting medical attention and documenting the accident with the authorities is to speak with your insurance company. Keep in mind that your insurance agent is not your friend. They are highly trained, skilled negotiators who understand how to get you to open up and admit fault, even when the accident isn’t your fault. Approach any interaction with them cautiously, and do not let your guard down.
It’s worth noting that personal injury lawyers are experts at negotiating with insurance companies. In many cases, people choose not to hire an attorney because they believe that if the damages are less than $100,000, it’s unnecessary. However, you could be missing out on many benefits—including a higher settlement—in the long run by choosing to handle everything on your own.
After the initial shock of an accident wears off, you may start to realize how much trouble the situation is causing your life. It’s a hassle to go through insurance companies and file all types of paperwork, and it can be difficult to know what steps to take next in such a stressful scenario. In these cases, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced Rhode Island car accident lawyer.
The Best Rhode Island Car Accident Lawyer Gives You An Advantage
An experienced Rhode Island car accident lawyer can help you navigate your settlement and obtain a fair outcome. For over 35 years, I’ve helped Rhode Island car accident victims get the money they need to put their lives back together following an accident. While money can’t make everything better, it will help ease the hardship of lost income and wages, steep medical bills, and the costs associated with a car wreck.
Take control of your car accident settlement and let Carl P. DeLuca, Attorney at Law, handle the steps involved in your case, including:
- Negotiation. If the at-fault party and their insurance company are denying liability or trying to force you into an unfair settlement, having the assistance of an accident lawyer can greatly increase the odds of you getting a fair deal in your case.
- Representation. Taking someone to court over an accident is not for the faint of heart, especially when you are going up against the full weight and financial resources of a defense attorney. This is where hiring an attorney can be your strongest ally.
- Compensation. For an accident that involves injuries, property damage, or both, hiring a lawyer will help you get back on your feet faster as well as fight to make sure the driver who injured you and caused the crash is punished for their reckless actions. Additionally, if someone else was injured in the wreck and you want to help them recover their losses from medical bills or damaged property, hiring a professional accident attorney is a necessity.
Take Advantage of a Free Consultation
Even if you’re on the fence about hiring a Rhode Island car accident lawyer, it still makes sense to get a free consultation. Contrary to popular belief, most lawyers are not trying to pitch you during the consultation. Since we don’t get paid unless we successfully settle your case, there’s no use in pursuing a claim if the case doesn’t warrant it.
During the consultation, my number one goal is to help you understand if you should pursue legal action and how to best go about it. While it does not cost you anything to speak to an attorney, it could cost you substantially if you don’t. Once you settle, you give up your right to sue or receive further compensation.
You only have one chance to recover damages and lost wages as a result of your injury! Call or text today at 401-384-0355.