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Most of us look at a fender bender and think we don't need a lawyer. Even victims in more serious car accidents will wonder if hiring an attorney is too expensive or worth the cost. And while it's true that lawyers don't often provide legal services for free, not hiring one could end up costing you even more in the long run.
The total cost of hiring a car accident attorney will depend on both the particular attorney and the particulars of your case, but there are some general principles regarding legal fees, so here's a look.
Generally speaking, lawyers bill by the hour and their rate will vary depending on how good they are and how much experienced they have. After that, the total number of hours billed will depend on the complexity of your case. Some car crash issues can be worked out between cooperative drivers and insurance companies without legal assistance; some accidents are complex enough to require entire legal teams for each side. Rates generally range in the hundreds of dollars per hour and attorneys' fees can include filing fees. Make sure you have read and understand any fee agreement before hiring alawyer.
One major difference with injury attorneys, however, is that many will work on a contingency fee basis. This means your lawyer's fee will be based on a percentage of any amount awarded in the case; if you don't win your case, you may only have to pay some expenses. Contingency percentages in car accident injury claims are generally about one-third of the total award, but these can vary, and some state have laws that cap the amount of contingency fees that a lawyer can receive.
To Counsel, or Not to Counsel
Like all other attorneys, the better the car accident attorney, the more expensive he or she will be. If you are considering filing a suit, or especially if you have been sued, you are allowed to hire legal counsel and it's generally a good idea to have one on your side. In some cases your car insurance company may provide you with a lawyer, but make sure he or she has your best interests in mind, rather than the insurance carrier's.
Car accident issues are complicated and there are many reasons you might need an attorney after an accident. Luckily, we can put you in touch with the best.