In addition to understanding the value of your claim, you may also be wondering how much does a car accident lawyer cost in the Atlanta area. The answer depends on what type of fee arrangement you have with the lawyer and the amount of compensation you can receive from your claim.
The Types of Fee Arrangements Lawyers Use
A lawyer typically bases their fees on the following factors:
- The time and work the case requires
- The novelty and difficulty of the legal issues involved
- The necessary skill to perform the legal services properly
- The likelihood that taking the case will prevent the attorney from taking other cases
- What fees other lawyers in the area charge for similar legal services
- The length and nature of the lawyer’s relationship with the client
- The amount of money involved in the case and the results the lawyer obtains
- The time limitations involved in the case
- The experience, reputation, and ability of the lawyer performing the legal services
- Whether the fee is fixed or contingent
Lawyers may use a variety of fee arrangements. The fee arrangement should be clearly explained in the retainer agreement. Some of the common fee arrangements and how they work are below.
The most straightforward way that lawyers may charge is hourly. They multiply the number of hours they work by their hourly rate and send a bill to the client. They often charge monthly for their services. Many lawyers who use an hourly fee also charge an initial retainer fee, which serves as a down payment for legal services. The hours the lawyer works are taken out of this initial payment. Once the retainer amount has been reached, the lawyer will then bill for the additional hours.
For example, if John pays an attorney a $2,500 retainer fee and the attorney charges $250 hours, the attorney will work for ten hours for the payment of this fee. However, if the lawyer works another 30 hours on the case, he or she will then bill the client for these additional 30 hours, which is $7,500 in addition to the initial $2,500 payment.
Because this fee arrangement requires a big payment upfront, it is not usually well suited for personal injury claims. After all, you were not planning on getting hurt due to someone else’s negligence.
A flat fee is a pre-determined amount that a lawyer will charge for services. For example, Attorney Doe may charge $2,000 for an estate plan regardless of how many hours he works. The client pays the money upfront and then receives the legal services. Because this fee arrangement requires upfront payment, it is not usually used in personal injury cases.
A contingency fee is a fee that is contingent, or conditional, on the attorney achieving a particular outcome, such as a settlement or award. The attorney does not receive payment for his or her services upfront. Instead, he or she is paid a percentage of your winnings when you settle your claim or win an award in court. If you do not receive compensation for your claim, the attorney does not receive payment for his or her attorney fees.
A hybrid arrangement involves a mixture of the fee arrangements discussed above.
If you are interested, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers more information on hiring a lawyer
The Value of Your Claim
Because most personal injury cases are taken on a contingency fee basis, the value of your claim also largely determines the attorney’s payment. Damages that make up the value of your claim may include:
- Property damage
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
The Benefits of Employing a Lawyer
After you suffer injuries in a car accident, you may wonder why you should even pay a lawyer. After all, if you do not have a lawyer, you will not have to pay him or her out of the compensation you receive.
A lawyer who handles car accident claims will know the evidence to help support your claim and what is a fair amount of compensation. You may not be used to negotiating with insurance adjusters, but many personal lawyers are. Additionally, personal injury lawyers are knowledgeable about the law and can use this knowledge to argue why you should receive a fair value compensation for your injuries.
Hopefully, this helped you understand how much does a car accident lawyer cost. If you are ready to get started on your claim, call Bader Scott Injury Lawyers at (404) 888-8888 to speak to a member of our team.