With many car accidents, compensation is an important part of the healing process and provides valuable funds for the future. However, to get the most compensation possible for your claim or lawsuit, you must have a car accident lawyer representing you.
Without a car accident lawyer fighting for your payout, you will likely get far less compensation than you deserve or, worse, none at all. Why is this the case? Because the compensation process pits two sides against each other, with one of those sides (the insurance company of the at-fault driver) doing all it can to pay less.
You likely know someone who has gone through the car accident process without a car accident lawyer and got a compensation payout. In most cases, doing so is a mistake, as it is highly likely that the amount of money they received was much less than they could have gotten with a car accident lawyer representing them.
For this reason, it is advisable that car accident victims at least set up an initial consultation with a car accident lawyer before taking any final steps in their case. The next logical question is how much this meeting will cost you.
The First Consultation
The first consultation is an important meeting that informs you and your potential car accident lawyer of precisely what elements are involved in your case. During this appointment, the car accident lawyer will review the facts and relevant policies to come up with a rough estimate of how much compensation you stand to receive.
How much will this initial consultation set you back? Typically, nothing at all.
Most experienced car accident lawyers in Florida do not charge their clients for their initial consultation. As such, it is usually worth attending one to get an idea of what is in store for you and your claim.
You will be charged attorney’s fees when you hire a car accident attorney, but not immediately.
Most car accident lawyers charge a contingency fee for their services, which means the fee they ultimately receive is contingent upon the compensation they recover for you.
Why would a car accident attorney take a case with no money up front? The answer is simple: they believe in the case and are confident they can win their client enough compensation to make it worth it for themselves.
The amount you owe in attorney’s fees will be calculated as a percentage of the final compensation total you receive.
The exact percentage will depend on the car accident attorney you choose. If your car accident lawyer recovers nothing, you will owe nothing in attorney’s fees.
Various factors affect the percentage used to calculate attorney’s fees. For a quick, simple case, a car accident lawyer might charge an amount on the lower end of the range.
However, the presence of other factors can lead to an increase in the percentage charged, such as:
- Complex issues of fact and law
- The skill, experience, education, and expertise of the car accident attorney
- The geographical area or region of the law firm’s location
- The expected duration of the case
- Comparable contingency fee rates of other local attorneys
- The likelihood that the case will go to trial
Keep in mind that regardless of the percentage you must pay, you are more likely to get far more compensation when you have representation than when you do not.
Even if you were to pay a 33 percent contingency fee on $100,000 recovered by your car accident lawyer, you would likely end up with much more money than if you had gone through the process alone.
Costs refer to the money it takes to pursue compensation for a claim.
They are not the same as attorney’s fees, which you will pay to your car accident attorney for their lawyering work out of your total compensation. Instead, they are the basic expenses that must be paid to pursue your claim.
Depending on the car accident attorney you choose, these costs may be subtracted from your compensation payment along with the attorney’s fees.
Some of the common costs associated with car accident claims include:
- Postage fees
- Court costs
- Copying fees and fax charges
- Fees charged to obtain essential reports, such as police and medical reports
- Costs and fees associated with witness depositions
- Fees charged by expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction experts
- Costs for hiring investigators and investigating the car accident
- Trial preparation and filing costs
Not all car accident claims incur all the costs listed above. However, certain costs are unavoidable. It is a good idea to discuss the topic with your car accident lawyer to understand who is responsible for these costs.
Never Wait to Pursue the Compensation You Deserve
If you are interested in pursuing a claim for compensation for a car accident, always remember that time is of the essence. Waiting too long can result in a significant devaluing of your claim and even cause it to become invalid.
Although Florida gives car accident victims a generous timeframe of four years to pursue compensation, much can occur within this time that can make it difficult and costly for your car accident attorney to get justice on your behalf.
Potential complicating factors include:
- Lost or missing evidence
- Missing or unavailable witnesses
- Memory problems with witnesses
Quick action on the heels of a car accident is always best if you are hoping to receive compensation. By meeting with a car accident lawyer early on, you typically have a much better chance at presenting a strong case for compensation backed up by strong, fresh evidence.
After a car accident, immediately seek the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Because lawyers typically do not charge for your initial consultation, you have nothing to lose and a wealth of experience and resources to gain.
Contact a car accident attorney today to make sure your claim proceeds smoothly.