How Much Does an Auto Accident Lawyer Cost in California?
Unfortunately, there are over 6 million car accidents each year in the United States. Consequently, the complications associated with car accidents are not limited to injuries and property damage. You will also have to have a strong understanding of what you will pay for an auto accident lawyer.
This is especially true in the state of California. Although it might seem difficult at first to determine your lawyer fees, we put together a brief guide.
Let’s take a look at the key factors that influence what you will pay for your auto accident lawyer.
How Complex Was Your Incident?
There is a strong difference between a multi-car accident and a simple fender bender. It’s important to note that most personal injury cases don’t go to court. If your case does go to court, however, it will become much more expensive. This is due to the fact that you will need to deal with increased attorney fees, court fees, and additional fees. Court fees can include a filing fee, service fee, mediation fee, and witness fee. If you choose to appeal the judge’s decision, you also need to pay an appeal fee.
Attorney fees are related to what the lawyer will charge for their services. The more time that they spend working on your case in court, the more they will bill you. Additional fees could include paying the court costs of the winning side in your case. This will all factor into how much you pay for your lawyer. As you might guess, accidents that involve a larger number of nuances will generally cost more.
The number of people injured in the accident also plays a role in lawyer fees. If there are multiple victims, your lawyer will deal with a larger number of interactions with other attorneys. For example, your case will be more complicated if the driver at fault struck a vehicle and made it collide with your car. Your case can also become more complex if you had multiple people in your car at the time of the accident.
What Was the Severity of the Injuries?
In some scenarios, you may only experience mild injuries. It might also be difficult to prove that these injuries have significantly impacted your quality of life.
In other situations, however, your injuries may be much more severe. Your attorney will need to spend more time on your legal representation, which is something that could cause your case to take longer than you initially anticipated.
For example, your lawyer may need to spend time negotiating a higher settlement for a case that includes severe non-economic losses. These can include disability, pain and suffering, and mental distress.
As previously mentioned, you can expect to spend more money on legal representation if your case goes to court.
How Experienced Is Your Lawyer?
As a general rule, attorneys with less experience often charge lower rates.
Although this doesn’t necessarily mean you will get worse results, it’s not always recommended to go with the cheapest possible option. Saving money in the short term could lead to other complications later on.
In contrast, lawyers who have a proven track record when it comes to successful auto accident cases will charge much more.
You should also consider how familiar the lawyer is with cases like yours. In a situation like this, you should only work with a personal injury lawyer who specializes in auto accident cases.
However, you often get what you pay for when it comes to working with a car accident attorney. Keep this in mind moving forward so you can make the decision that is best for you.
What Kind of Fees Do They Have?
There’s a handful of fees that lawyers charge. Sometimes, lawyers will charge a flat fee that you must pay upfront. The amount that you pay will depend on numerous factors that we have discussed above, such as the complexity of your case.
You should also consider whether or not the attorney works on an hourly or contingency basis, as well as if they charge additional fees. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
For those unfamiliar with contingency fees, it means your attorney will not collect payment from you unless they win your case. Instead, they will take their compensation out of the sum that you receive from the other party.
The primary benefit here is that you don’t have to pay any money upfront. However, lawyers often take a large percentage of the winnings as payment.
The percentage a lawyer takes from your compensation often lies between 30% and 40%.
Not all lawyers work on contingency. Some charge hourly fees that will vary widely depending on how experienced the lawyer is. Although you will be billed for their work throughout the case, you may end up with more money if you are awarded a large settlement compared to a contingency fee basis.
In some situations, a lawyer may charge you to communicate with them outside of their office hours. This could even include something as simple as responding to an email or text message. Make sure that you’re aware of this so you don’t run into any surprises.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Auto Accident Lawyer?
It could cost you anywhere from a few hundred dollars to multiple thousands to hire a car accident lawyer in California.
The amount you pay will heavily depend on the type of fee structure the lawyer uses for their services. If you work with a lawyer who charges an hourly rate and your case takes a long time to handle, you could easily end up paying thousands.
As previously mentioned, if your lawyer is working on a contingency basis, you can expect to pay approximately 30% to 40% of the amount you are awarded. So, if a judge orders the other party to pay you $20,000 in compensation, your attorney will take somewhere between $6,000 and $8,000 as their share.
Although this might seem like a large amount, you should also consider that you paid nothing upfront for their representation.
Ultimately, the amount that you pay will be determined by the lawyer you work with and the severity of your auto accident case.
Finding the Right Auto Accident Lawyer in California
Although it might seem complicated at first, finding the right auto accident lawyer in California is quite easy.
All you need to do is take the time to do your research and ask around for recommendations. Looking for other ways we can help you out in the future? Be sure to reach out to Alpha Accident Lawyers today to learn more about your legal options.