Craig Rosenbaum | September 26, 2022 | Car Accidents
Many people do not call a New York City car accident lawyer because they fear they cannot afford to hire legal representation to handle their accident claim. However, most car accident lawyers in New York City work on a contingency fee agreement. Therefore, it does not cost anything upfront to hire a lawyer for a car accident case.
What Is a Contingency Fee?
A contingency fee is a form of attorneys’ fees for legal services. Lawyers generally charge an hourly fee, flat rate, or contingency fee for their services. However, most personal injury lawyers accept injury cases on a contingency fee instead of an hourly fee.
With a contingency fee agreement, you do not pay anything money when you hire a lawyer to represent you. Instead, you agree to pay the lawyer a percentage of your recovery for the injury claim. You and the lawyer agree to the percentage when you sign the retainer agreement.
You do not owe the lawyer any money for their legal services if they do not recover money for your claim. Why would an attorney take a case on a contingency fee? They believe they can win the case and do not want you to go without legal counsel merely because you cannot afford to hire a lawyer after an accident or personal injury.
Also, the contingency fee means the lawyer is taking a risk with you. The more money the lawyer recovers for your claim, the higher their fee. Therefore, the incentive is to work as hard as possible to get you the best possible settlement for your personal injury claim.
How Much Does a New York City Car Accident Lawyer Charge?
The amount of the contingency fee is based on several factors. Factors that impact the contingency fee include:
- The rate other car accident attorneys in New York City charge for similar cases
- The complexity of your car accident case
- The lawyer’s experience, education, and track record
- The parties involved in the case
- The amount of time the attorney expects to spend on the case
Generally, a car accident lawyer charges 33% for a contingency fee if the case settles without going to trial. However, the contingency fee generally increases if the attorney files a lawsuit.
It takes significantly more resources to file a lawsuit and take a case to trial. However, most car accident cases settle without filing a lawsuit.
Who Pays for the Cost of Pursuing a Car Accident Claim?
Generally, personal injury lawyers pay the costs of the case for the client as the costs are incurred. The costs of a case can include, but are not limited to:
- Fees for copies and records
- Accident report fees
- Postage and copying costs
- Deposition fees
- Expert witness fees
- Court filing fees
- Trial preparation costs
- Travel expenses and mileage
You need to ask the lawyer to explain the costs of the cases and how those costs are paid. Also, ask the lawyer if you are responsible for reimbursing the law firm for costs if the attorney does not win your case. All the terms should be included in the retainer agreement and contingency fee agreement.
Why Should You Hire a New York City Car Accident Lawyer?
Many people believe that they can get more money if they handle their car accident claim themselves. The insurance adjuster would probably support that belief. However, many people are unaware that their car accident claim is worth more money.
A claims adjuster will not tell you the actual value of your damages is more than the settlement offer. The adjuster’s job is to pay as little as possible to settle your insurance claim. Therefore, if you are unaware that you could receive compensation for pain and suffering (non-economic damages), that is better for the insurance company.
Likewise, if you do not include out-of-pocket expenses in your economic damages, the insurance adjuster will not tell you that you are entitled to reimbursement for those costs. The adjuster will not tell you that you could be entitled to future damages for permanent impairments, including a decrease in your quality of life or diminished earning capacity.
A car accident attorney assesses all damages and calculates the correct value for your claim. Furthermore, your attorney handles all aspects of your claim, including gathering evidence to prove fault and liability and working with expert witnesses to estimate future damages.
Suppose you represent yourself in a car accident case. In that situation, you are expected to understand the law, including deadlines for filing lawsuits and various defenses the insurance company could use to reduce the value of your claim. You are not given a ”pass” or forgiven for not knowing the law.
Therefore, if you can hire lawyers and not pay them until they win the case, it is in your best interest to at least take advantage of a free consultation to weigh your options.