Car accidents can cause significant harm to your health and your finances. If you have been involved in a recent accident, you most likely have medical expenses and property damage to deal with. Many people worry about whether or not they will be able to afford a lawyer for car accidents while so many other expenses are piling up. The good news is that some of the best attorneys in Houston, TX work on a contingency fee basis.
What Is a Contingency Fee When Hiring a Lawyer for Car Accidents?
A contingency fee is a method of billing a legal client whereby the lawyer only collects payment if the case yields monetary compensation for the claimant. In other words, if your lawyer operates on a contingency fee basis, you will only be charged for his or her services if you secure a settlement offer win a lawsuit.
Usually, the contingency fee is a percentage of the payout. According to the contingency model, your legal fees will be proportionate to the amount of money you receive for your injuries.
Why Do Personal Injury Lawyers Work on a Contingency Fee Basis?
Not all lawyers work according to a contingency fee. Some charge a flat hourly rate for their services. However, the contingency fee model has several advantages, especially in the field of personal injury law:
Contingency Fees Make Legal Services Accessible
Big insurance companies bring their own legal teams, and it takes a skilled personal injury attorney to successfully argue on behalf of the plaintiff. Not everyone can afford to pay for their own attorney upfront, especially when they are facing medical bills and other accident-related expenses. By working on a contingency fee basis, personal injury law firms make it easier for their clients to obtain legal services that are needed to maximize a settlement or win a lawsuit.
Lawyers Are Incentivized to Seek a High Payout
Normally, the contingency fee for legal services is 20-50% of the payout. Therefore, the lawyer is compensated according to his or her skill in representing the case. In other words, the lawyer wins when the client wins.
The Client Does Not Take On Any Financial Risk
When a lawyer charges a contingency fee, the burden of bearing the risk for the case is transferred away from the injured party. Clients who work with a lawyer on a contingency fee basis do not have to risk adding legal costs to lost wages, medical bills, and other out-of-pocket expenses if the case is unsuccessful.
What to Do After a Car Accident
Immediately after you are injured in a car crash, you should go to the hospital to have your injuries treated. Getting the proper care will help you recover and create a medical record that you can use as evidence when you submit your claim. Onsite at the accident, you should obtain the other driver’s insurance information and take photos of the two vehicles. Videos showing the crash from all angles are helpful as well.
When to Be in Touch With a Lawyer
After you have addressed your immediate medical concerns, you should get in touch with a lawyer for car accidents as soon as possible. Insurance companies will often use manipulative tactics to get you to sign documents releasing the other driver from liability before you have had the chance to talk with a lawyer. Additionally, any recorded statements you give the defense can be used as evidence against you.
Speaking with an attorney as soon as you can will help you get informed on the right actions to take to avoid jeopardizing your claim. Your lawyer can instruct you on your rights regarding communications with the defense and help you review any settlement offers you receive.
How to Hire a Lawyer on a Contingency Fee Basis
Take Advantage of a Free Consultation
Most personal injury lawyers who work on a contingency fee basis will also offer a free consultation. The free consultation is an opportunity for you to go over the basics of your case to find out if the lawyer is a match, without risking any money upfront.
Prepare for the Consultation
During the consultation, the lawyer will ask you questions about how the crash occurred. You should be prepared to provide information regarding:
- Where the accident happened
- What time the crash occurred
- What the road and weather conditions were like
- How your vehicle was hit
Next, your lawyer will gather information on how the crash affected your life. You can expect to be asked:
- Whether you suffered bodily injury
- When and how your injuries were treated
- Whether you had passengers and if they were injured
- If you had to miss work
- What damage was done to your vehicle
- If you had personal property inside the vehicle that was damaged
- How the crash affected you emotionally
Make the Relationship Official
If you agree that the lawyer would be a good fit for your case and he or she agrees to represent you, you will sign a document called a retainer. The retainer is a representation agreement that makes the client-lawyer relationship official. The lawyer will also provide all of the details for the contingency fee, including what percentage will be charged and when payment will be collected.
Once you have secured representation from your lawyer, the two of you will proceed to prepare your claim and fight for compensation. You can expect the following legal services:
Guidance Through the Legal Process
Strict legal protocols apply to the process of submitting a claim, preparing evidence for your case, and negotiating with the insurance company. Your lawyer will keep you informed on the documents you must fill out and the deadlines you must meet in order to keep your claim valid. You can also expect your lawyer to coach you on how to avoid oversharing information with the defense.
Building a Solid Case
Set rules apply to the submission of evidence and the questioning of witnesses. Your lawyer will help you back your case with strong evidence that is acceptable according to legal standards.
Reviewing Settlement Offers
Too often, the insurance company will try to get away with paying less than you deserve by offering you a settlement that is too low. Your lawyer can help you identify all of your damages and make sure that any settlement offers you receive accounts for the totality of your expenses.
Negotiation and Litigation
Winning fair compensation for clients in car accident cases requires a lawyer to demonstrate excellent negation and litigation skills. Most claimants and insurance companies prefer to settle outside of court in order to avoid the cost and inconvenience of a court battle.
To secure a high settlement offer, your lawyer must be able to show the insurance company that you have proof of your damages. If the case does go to trial, your lawyer must be able to fight aggressively on your behalf. You should always work with a law firm that has a solid track record of delivering high settlements and winning court battles.
Find a Contingency Fee Lawyer in Houston, TX
We offer a team of compassionate attorneys who understand the challenges you face after a car accident. We are prepared to provide you with the quality legal representation you need to win your case. To get in touch with a contingency fee lawyer in Houston, TX, contact Houston Injury Lawyers PLLC, today!