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How Much Does an Auto Accident Lawyer Cost?

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Auto Accident Attorney Fees

There are approximately 5 to 6 million auto accidents each year in the United States, making it a good possibility that you will be involved in one at some point in your life. While most car crashes are minor fender benders, others can unfortunately result in serious injury. When that happens, it's necessary for the injured party to hire an auto accident attorney to ensure that he or she receives the full amount of compensation needed to pay for medical bills, property damage, and other losses. Continue reading to find out more about auto accident attorneys and how much it costs to hire one.

What You Can Potentially Recover in an Auto Accident Settlement

The severity of the injuries and property damage sustained in an auto accident (and, by extension, the amount of money a victim may be entitled to) can vary significantly. Still, it's possible to gain a basic understanding of how much an auto accident lawyer can help you recover by examining the types of injuries and expenses that are compensable.

  • Economic damages: These damages include losses that have a specific monetary value, such as medical bills, rehabilitation, wages lost due to time away from work (including your inability to earn future wages), damage to your car, and the cost of a rental vehicle.
  • Non-economic damages: Although more subjective, non-economic damages can make up a significant portion of a victim's settlement and may include compensation for pain and suffering, a diminished enjoyment of life, loss of companionship, and disfigurement.

When to Hire a Car Accident Attorney

Not all collisions require the guidance of a traffic accident attorney. For example, in situations where injuries are minor and/or one party freely admits fault, reaching a settlement between the parties and their insurance companies is a fairly straightforward matter. Not every auto accident is so cut and dry, however. Circumstances for which you should seriously consider contacting local auto accident lawyers include:

  • You are seriously injured
  • There is uncertainty about who is liable (including whether liability is shared)
  • There are preexisting injuries to the body part(s) damaged in the accident
  • One of the parties is uninsured, or there are questions about coverage
  • Questions exist concerning the statute of limitations (the timeframe in which a lawsuit can be filed)
  • You are unable or uncertain of your ability to negotiate your own settlement
  • The insurer has denied your claim or made an offer that seems unfair
  • You are being sued by the other party
  • You're not sure how to substantiate your losses

Auto Accident Lawyer Average Costs

Auto accident attorney fees are contingent on the amount of money he or she is able to recover on your behalf. This is known as a “contingency fee,” and it's typically somewhere around 20% to 35% of the settlement.

It bears repeating that auto accident settlements fluctuate tremendously, but for the sake of an example, it's reasonable to say that for a major collision, a car crash lawyer can obtain an average settlement of $10,000 to $40,000.

To calculate how much you might owe in auto attorney fees, assume that you recover $15,000, and your lawyer has a contingency fee of 25%.

  • $15,000 x .25= $3,750 in attorney fees (leaving you with a net settlement of $11,250).

Finally, in addition to the cost of a collision attorney, there are other fees associated with an auto accident lawsuit, including:

  • The cost to produce medical records
  • Court reporter fees
  • Court filing fees
  • Expert witness fees
  • Exhibit fees