Most victims of car accidents can benefit from the help of lawyers. But most often than not, several crash victims fail to get legal representation while getting compensation. The aversion to legal counsel comes from the fear of expensive legal fees and the victim’s inability to pay upfront fees.
As Georgia’s leading car accident attorneys, we know that this fear is unfounded. Legal fees are not as expensive as most people think, and accident attorneys do not always ask for upfront payment. Accident lawyers get their legal costs from settlement amounts. But how much of the settlement sum will an attorney take from an accident settlement? Read on to find out.
How Do Car Accident Lawyers Charge for Their Fees in Georgia?
In Georgia, most personal injury lawyers get paid on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee is a pre-agreed amount that you pay a lawyer when they win your case. The condition precedent (contingency) is that the attorney has to get you an accident settlement to get paid.
If the lawyer fails to win, they will not get paid. Injury victims and their legal counsel work on this basis for the following reasons:
- The client does not need to pay an upfront fee, thereby taking away any additional monetary stress. This way, you focus more on healing and worry less about paying legal fees.
- Contingency fees ensure that the lawyer gives the case their all as their payment is dependent on the success. They are incentivized to win and get you the best possible compensation.
- If the lawyer wins the case, they get a percentage of the total accident settlement sum. This way, you avoid out-of-pocket payments.
In summary, the contingency fee structure is a win-win for both the attorney and the victim.
How Much Do Lawyers Take From the Settlement Sum?
As mentioned above, a contingency fee is a percentage of the accident settlement. In Georgia, it is typically between 33.3% and 40% of the settlement sum. The duration of a case often determines how high or low the contingency fee percentage would be.
It means that if your lawyer wins the case quickly, through an out-of-court settlement, without litigation, they will take 33.3%. If the case goes to court, but you reach a settlement with the fault party without proceeding to trial, the attorney would take 33.3%.
In cases where the parties cannot settle and proceed to trial, the lawyer takes 40%. This is because litigation is expensive and comes with several other costs like filing fees, among others. However, most personal injury claims do not proceed to trial.
In summary, suppose you get $10,000 as your accident settlement sum following a car crash in Atlanta. The lawyer representing you will take $3,330 as their legal fees if the contingency agreement is 33.3%.
What Does the Contingency Agreement Contain?
The content of a contingency fee agreement varies from law firm to law firm and from case to case. The lawyer and the client would discuss what it should contain, and the attorney will draft it. The content, however, must include the accident settlement percentage the attorney will get and who will receive the settlement check.
In most cases, after the attorney and the fault party’s insurance company arrive at a sum, the law firm receives the check. They will deduct their fee from the money and send you what’s left. Note that if your case, for instance, required calling expert witnesses, and your lawyer paid the cost, they will deduct it from the accident settlement sum.
Why Do You Need an Accident Lawyer?
As mentioned earlier, most crash victims assume they can settle their claims without a lawyer. While this is essentially true, people who choose to represent themselves often end up in a disadvantaged position. This is why we do not recommend it.
Legal matters might be tricky, and insurance companies do not fight fair. They look for ways to discredit you and might introduce terms that only an attorney can understand. A good lawyer will explain legal terminologies to you and represent you at the negotiation table. They will also ensure you do not get cheated by getting you the maximum compensation.
Calvin Smith Car Accident Lawyers Are Who You Need!
Our wealth of experience has shown us how easy it is for crash victims to get less than they deserve because they lack legal guidance. Don’t let this be your story. Our personal injury lawyers at Calvin Smith Law work on a contingency basis and are ready to represent you. Getting you justice is our priority, so call us today to schedule a free consultation.