Some people shy away from hiring an attorney after an accident because they think it will cost too much. It is true that lawyers can be expensive; however, many personal injury lawyers in Georgia accept cases on a contingency fee. This payment arrangement enables victims to file a claim without having to pay their attorney up front, but perhaps the most beneficial aspect of this arrangement is that victims often do not have to pay anything unless they win their case. In short, contingency fee arrangements allow the victim to file a claim virtually risk-free.
How Does a Contingency Fee Work?
A contingency fee is “contingent,” meaning it depends on a certain outcome. In a car accident case in Georgia, it means that you will only pay your attorney a fee if you receive compensation for your injuries.
Each payment arrangement is slightly different, so it is important to read your fee agreement with a potential attorney carefully. In some arrangements, the attorney may expect you to pay for costs such as filing fees or expert expenses as they become due. In most situations, however, the attorney will cover these costs for you, but they may be added to your bill if your case is successful.
Other examples of expenses that may be required to cover include:
- Postage and copies
- Mileage (or other travel expenses)
- Court reporter fees
- Medical records fees
- Police reports
- Expert fees
- Filing fees
If you lose your case, your Georgia personal injury attorney will likely end up waiving these costs. You are generally not responsible for any fees if you do not win your case.
How Much Is a Contingency Fee?
The contingency fee is typically a percentage of your overall award or your settlement amount. The percentage usually ranges from 30 to 40 percent, but most contingency fees are around 33⅓ percent of the total award or settlement.
The fee may vary depending on how complicated your case is. For example, an attorney may work out a deal with you in which his fee will be 33⅓ percent if he can settle your case for a reasonable amount without filing a lawsuit. If the case must be filed, the fee may increase to 40 percent. If you appeal the lower court’s decision, the fee may increase to a higher percentage. Such increases are designed to account for the added time, effort, and expense at each stage of your claim. Keep in mind that this percentage is in addition to any costs that may need to be reimbursed.
What Are Benefits of the Contingency Fee Arrangement?
Car accident lawyers in Georgia use the contingency fee arrangement because it benefits victims who are likely dealing with a lot of issues, such as medical bills and an inability to work. Having to pay an attorney’s fees on top of that would deter many individuals from filing a car accident lawsuit and getting the compensation they deserve. The contingency fee arrangement removes cost as a barrier so that more people can have access to the court system.
Williams Elleby takes car accident lawsuits on a contingency fee basis because we want to help victims get their lives back on track. Call 833 – LEGALGA for more information or to set up a free consultation.