How Do Accident Attorneys Get Paid?

If you’re injured in a motor vehicle accident, it’s critical that you receive immediate medical attention. From there, as your health allows, you’ll turn your attention to your legal rights and the steps you can take to obtain compensation from the at-fault party.

While you have the option to seek compensation without legal representation, there are several risks of doing so:

  • You may not have a thorough understanding of insurance policies and personal injury law.
  • Insurance companies will attempt to take advantage of you, such as by making a lowball offer.
  • You’re more likely to agree to something that’s not in your best interest.

With all this in mind, it’s time to learn more about consulting with a personal injury attorney.

How Do Injury Lawyers Get Paid?

Accident attorneys are skilled at maximizing the amount of compensation you receive for your injuries, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. But there’s an important question to answer: How do accident attorneys get paid? The majority of accident lawyers work on a contingency fee agreement, meaning they only receive compensation if they win your case.

The contingency fee differs from one law firm to the next, but it’s typically in the 25 to 40% range. The most common contingency fee is 33%.

As an example, suppose your accident attorney secures $100,000 in compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Once the settlement is finalized, the insurance company will issue your attorney payment for the full $100,000. With a 33% contingency fee, your attorney will keep $33,000 and you will receive the other $67,000.

While that sounds like a lot of money — and it is — you must consider what you’re getting in return:

  • Without an attorney, you may not receive any compensation.
  • Your attorney will communicate with the other party so you don’t have to.
  • There’s no financial risk, as your attorney only receives compensation if they make a settlement on your behalf (or win your court case).

How Are Settlements Paid Out?

You may be wondering how your settlement will be paid out once it’s awarded to you. Can you expect a check directly from the insurance company or responsible party?

Typically, your accident attorney will receive payment from the insurance company. They’ll then disperse the funds based on the terms and conditions of your contingency agreement.

Sticking with the example above, a $100,000 settlement with a 33% contingency fee will result in a final payout to you of $67,000. Your attorney can provide options as to how you receive payment.

Is a Contingency Fee Negotiable?

A good accident lawyer knows what goes into a personal injury claim. And for that reason, they’re able to set a reasonable and fair contingency fee.

However, as with any contract, the fee is negotiable. For instance, let’s say that these details are clear from the get-go:

  • The person who caused the accident
  • Your damages, including injuries and those to your vehicle
  • A reasonable amount of car insurance coverage held by the at-fault party
  • Sufficient evidence to back up your claim

With all these details working in your favor, your accident attorney won’t have to put in as much effort to recover damages for you. Subsequently, they may be willing to agree to a lower contingency fee.

Conversely, if you have a complicated personal injury case, such as one that involves severe and long-term injuries, your lawyer’s contingency fee may be higher. As you want to maximize your compensation, you risk falling short if you decide to handle your case on your own.

Are There Additional Case Fees and Expenses?

Just because you’re not responsible for any upfront fees doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Even a seemingly straightforward claim will result in miscellaneous costs for your accident lawyer, such as those for:

  • Obtaining medical records
  • Obtaining a copy of the police report
  • Recreating the accident scene 
  • Consulting with subject matter experts
  • Court fees

You should carefully review your contract for any language that could make you responsible for these fees and costs upfront.

If you need an accident attorney to review your case and provide expert advice, contact us for a free consultation online or via phone at (956) 968-7800. We help injured individuals in Houston, Weslaco, Tyler, Spring, Mission, McAllen, Laredo, Edinburg, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, Harlingen, and other locations throughout the state receive the compensation they deserve.