“How do I pay for a lawyer?”
This question—and the anxiety that comes along with it—is what prevents most people from reaching out to us when they need help.
However, there’s no need to worry about money when it comes to hiring a car accident lawyer.
In Louisiana, personal injury lawyers usually work on a contingency fee basis. This means that there’s no upfront or out-of-pocket cost for you, and if we do not obtain a settlement on your behalf, you won’t owe us anything at all.
Does this sound too good to be true? It’s not! Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers believe every injured victim deserves superb legal representation, regardless of their financial situation. Read on for more information on how car accident lawyers collect their fees, or give us a call at 800-898-4877 or visit our contact page for a free consultation. With over 20 years of legal experience, we’re ready to fight for your rights!
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Whenever you get hurt in an accident due to someone else’s reckless behavior, you may be entitled to compensation. But where do you begin? After a car accident, you’re bound to be stressed. When bills are piling up with no relief in sight, hiring a lawyer is probably not something you are considering.
Plus, there’s the common misconception that lawyers are expensive. Want to know the truth? Most personal injury lawyers don’t charge anything upfront, and they can help you secure an exponentially higher settlement amount than if you try to forgo legal representation.
That’s right: all the help you need is at your fingertips, with no strain on your finances.
While lawyers in many practice areas charge hourly rates, personal injury lawyers charge accident victims differently. With a contingency fee arrangement, a lawyer’s payment is contingent, or dependent, on them successfully winning your case and securing a monetary settlement or award for your losses. If your lawyer fails to secure a settlement or favorable judgment for you, you don’t pay them a penny. This keeps them motivated to fight aggressively for you, and it ensures their goals are always aligned with yours.
Our Louisiana car accident lawyers represent clients through a contingency fee contract. A contingency fee contract means the client pays nothing upfront, and the lawyer cannot collect a fee unless they win or settle the claim.
Basically, we don’t get paid until you get paid!
How Much Is A Contingency Fee?
So now you know how a contingency fee works, but how much does a car accident lawyer take from your settlement once all is said and done?
Generally, 33.3% is the norm. This means one third of your final settlement amount will go toward your legal fees.
Note: 33.3% is the general contingency fee in cases where a lawsuit is not filed. If a lawsuit is filed, the percentage increases due to the additional work involved. Luckily, most cases settle out of court!
After settlement check disbursement, your lawyer will deduct their legal fees from your total settlement amount. They will also handle the payment of any outstanding medical bills you may have connected to liens or letters of protection.
Thanks to this arrangement, you get swift legal help and medical care without paying anything upfront or out-of-pocket.
How Does A Contingency Fee Work?
Contingency fees will be a previously-set percentage of your settlement. You will discuss this percentage when signing a retainer agreement with your attorney, who will be happy to address any questions or concerns. As we stated above, the fee is generally one third of your total recovery amount.
How does your lawyer use this money? Expenses in a typical accident claim can include:
- Investigators and experts
- Fees to obtain copies of police reports or medical records
- Fees of court reporters
- Court filing fees
- Costs of service and subpoenas
Carefully review the retainer agreement to determine whether you’ll be responsible for reimbursing your lawyer for some or all of these fees and expenses, or if they are included in the contingency fee. Some car accident law firms expect clients to cover costs like these as they arise, and if you cannot make the required payments when they are due, your case may come to a standstill. Alternatively, many firms have the resources to cover these costs upfront for you.
When you receive a settlement or award, your lawyer will deduct the agreed-upon percentage from the gross amount of the settlement.
It’s rare for a car accident attorney to charge a flat rate for handling an injury claim, as they might for a criminal case. However, if you only need help with one task, like drafting a demand letter, they may agree on a flat fee for that service. You’ll need to discuss these options with your individual attorney during your consultation.
REMEMBER: If you lose the case, you do not owe the lawyer anything.
The American Bar Association has certain rules that all car accident lawyers must abide by. Some of these rules apply to contingency fees and payment. Consider the following:
- All contingent fee agreements must be expressed in writing.
- Fees must be compliant with any applicable state laws.
- Fees and expenses must be reasonable for the specific case.
- Lawyers must clearly and promptly establish the basis and rate of any and all legal fees.
- Fee agreements should never cause a lawyer to act against a client’s best interests.
- If two law firms are splitting a fee, the client should only be billed once.
- Disputes over fees should be handled in accordance with any mandatory or recommended state mediation/arbitration procedures.
The amount of money you receive from a car accident settlement will depend on your accident-related expenses and losses, which are known collectively as “damages.” Since a car crash impacts your livelihood in multiple ways, there are different categories of damages.
Economic damages are monetary damages. These are expenses that are easily quantified because you can prove them with copies of your bills, receipts, invoices, etc.
Typical car accident settlement amounts include some or all of these economic damages:
- Medical expenses, doctor visits, and ongoing care. This category is usually a client’s biggest concern, and for good reason. It includes emergency room stays, surgeries, prescription medication, imaging, home care, physical therapy, and mobility aids like wheelchairs and crutches.
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity. Keep track of the time you miss from work while recovering from your injuries. Pay stubs, timesheets, and letters from your employer can be used to prove your lost income. If your injuries left you permanently disabled, you may have to modify your responsibilities at work or switch to a different job entirely. By consulting expert witnesses like economists, your attorney can estimate how much money you’re missing out on and include this in your claim.
- Property damage. If your car was damaged in an accident, you can be compensated for the repairs. If your car was totaled, you can receive compensation matching its current market value. If any of your personal belongings were lost or damaged in the crash, you can include them in the property damage claim as well.
- Funeral and burial expenses, in the event of a fatal accident and a wrongful death claim.
It’s tough to put a price on the pain and suffering you cope with after a car crash, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve compensation. Non-economic damages can still be included in your car accident settlement.
Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- PTSD, anxiety, and other emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Disability, scarring, and disfigurement
Also known as exemplary damages, punitive damages exist to punish and penalize careless drivers who have caused accidents. Punitive damages are not available in every case; they only apply to cases involving extreme negligence, such as drunk driving accidents.
Every case is unique, and every client will be coping with their own unique losses and financial struggles. An experienced Louisiana car accident attorney can help you figure out the value of your claim. By carefully tracking your expenses, consulting with expert witnesses, and negotiating with the insurance adjusters, a lawyer can help you obtain the highest possible settlement for your car accident. Don’t delay!
Yes! Medical bills are included in the economic damages portion of the demand letter. In fact, a Louisiana car accident lawyer can connect you to the care you need ASAP, at no cost to you, and get your medical bills paid by filing a lien or issuing a letter of protection, also known as an LOP. This guarantees a provider will receive payment for their services from a pending claim settlement or future lawsuit award. The client receives care—including surgery for car or truck accident injuries—but pays nothing upfront.
You can run into a ton of complications when seeking medical treatment after a car accident. You may have inadequate health insurance coverage (or none at all), or maybe the negligent driver’s insurance company is arguing with you. A letter of protection safeguards you. It is a contractual agreement that allows you to get the care you need, when you need it.
What Can A Car Accident Lawyer Do for You?
A car accident can be a real headache—literally and figuratively. No one wants to fuss with handling an insurance claim at a chaotic time like that.
Fortunately, a car accident lawyer can streamline the process for you and help you maximize your settlement amount so you can get back to your regular life.
Here are just a few of the ways a car accident lawyer can help:
- Scheduling appointments and connecting you to medical care
- Assisting with vehicle repairs
- Providing transportation/rental vehicles, if needed
- Collecting evidence and keeping track of paperwork
- Conducting investigations, determining liability, and proving fault
- Tracking expenses and lost wages to calculate the value of your claim
- Writing demand letters and settlement packages
- Negotiating with insurance adjusters
- Meeting deadlines for the Louisiana statute of limitations
- Filing a lawsuit, representing you in court, and presenting your case to a judge and jury if necessary
- Settling your claim and paying off your accident-related liens
We know you need help now. That’s why we work on a contingency basis and provide all of this at no upfront cost to you.
Even when the contingency fee is taken into consideration, it’s almost always worth it to seek legal help for a car accident. A Louisiana car accident lawyer can secure a much higher settlement or award than an injured victim would on their own. Our local personal injury lawyers have experience with insurance claims from the biggest, toughest insurance companies. We know the tricks and strategies they’ll try to use to take advantage of you, and we won’t stand for it.
Additionally, car accident law firms and their accident attorneys are willing and able to help negotiate reductions on outstanding medical bills or health insurance subrogations you may be dealing with after your accident.
How Much Does It Cost to Talk to A Louisiana Car Accident Lawyer?
Our consultations are always 100% FREE. Call 800-898-4877 or visit our contact page for a customized case evaluation from a live expert, available 24/7.
Most personal injury lawyers in Louisiana take cases on a contingency fee basis, which means the legal fees come out of a percentage of a client’s financial recovery.
Overall, a contingent fee aligns a car accident lawyer’s interests with your own, since they will not get paid a single cent unless you successfully recover for your losses. With our client-first approach, you’re the boss.
The higher the value of your case, the more critical—and worthwhile—it is to hire a strong attorney. This is especially true if your case will go to trial.
If you need a car accident injury lawyer, look no further.
If the insurance company is frustrating you, you don’t have to fight them alone.
Call 800-898-4877 for a free case evaluation from a dedicated Louisiana car accident attorney. You can also visit our contact page for more information.
What is A Reasonable Settlement for A Car Accident in Louisiana?
How is Pain and Suffering Calculated in Louisiana?
Louisiana Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
When Should You Contact A Lawyer After An Accident in Louisiana?
What Kind of Cases Do Personal Injury Lawyers Handle in Louisiana?
How Long Does It Take to Settle A Personal Injury Case in New Orleans?
How Do You Negotiate A Car Accident Settlement Without A Lawyer in New Orleans?
Is It Worth Getting A Lawyer for A Minor Car Accident in Louisiana?
Hit & Run Guide | New Orleans Car Accident Lawyers
Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.