Hiring a lawyer for a car accident usually means retaining them on a "contingency fee" basis, meaning the attorney is only paid upon the successful outcome of your case.
Just about all the car accident cases we handle are on a "contingency fee" basis. This means that our firm will only get paid if we recover something for you. If your case is taken to trial and we lost, you would still owe nothing. Note that our firm would also be advancing any litigation related expenses (costs). Common costs of a car accident lawsuit include:
- Obtaining the medical records and bills (doctors and hospitals charge for these)
- Filing the lawsuit
- Any depositions - a court reporter will need to be paid
- Paying for a doctor's time to review your file
- Paying for a doctor's time to testify at trial. This expense can really add up if there are multiple treating physcians that need to testify.
Why Would You Want to Hire an Attorney on a Contingency Fee Basis?
It's very expensive to pay an attorney hourly. Plus, hourly-rate attorneys generally require a retainer to be paid up front. Most people have no interest in paying someone when there's a risk of paying them and still losing the case. Contingency fees help "level the playing field." Without this type of fee, most people wouldn't have the ability to hire an attorney and go to trial.
Additionally, you can be sure your attorney is incented to get the best possible recovery for you, because that's how they earn their income.
Who's Paying the Attorney's Fees for the Defendant in my Case?
This is very misleading because the defense attorney will repeatedly say "my client." The simple fact is that they represent, and are paid by, the insurance company involved in the car accident lawsuit. The "defendant" in your case is really the insurance company liable for paying the damages done to you.