How Much Does a Lawyer Cost for a Car Accident?

April 3, 2024 | By Riddle & Brantley Accident Injury Lawyers
How Much Does a Lawyer Cost for a Car Accident?

Car accidents frequently happen when other drivers deviate from standard road rules or drive carelessly and irresponsibly. In these situations, accident victims who suffer injuries may file a personal injury claim or lawsuit seeking compensation.

If you sustained injuries because of another driver’s negligence, contact a skilled car accident lawyer in your jurisdiction as soon as possible.

Most car accident lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis. Consequently, you will not owe your attorney a fee unless they can recover compensation on your behalf. At the end of the case, the lawyer will only charge you a certain percentage of your gross financial recovery as their fee.

Your car accident attorney can explain their contingency fee agreement (CFA) to you and answer all of your questions before you sign. Your attorney can then begin their legal representation of you throughout the case and focus on recovering the monetary damages you deserve.

Factors That May Affect a Lawyer's Contingency Fee Percentage

A car accident lawyer’s contingency fee percentage in a car accident case is influenced by various factors. One significant factor is the complexity of the case. Cases involving intricate legal issues, multiple parties, or disputed liability may lead to a higher contingency fee. The lawyer invests additional time and resources to navigate these complexities, affecting their fee structure. The extent of the injuries that the accident victim suffers also plays a pivotal role. Severe injuries, like bone fractures and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), often require extensive investigation, medical documentation, and expert testimony. A lawyer may charge a higher contingency fee if they need to dedicate significant efforts to build a compelling case that reflects the true effect of the injuries on the victim’s life. The potential for a settlement or trial can also influence the lawyer’s contingency fee. If a case is more likely to proceed to trial, involving prolonged court proceedings and additional legal work, the lawyer may negotiate a higher percentage.

On the other hand, cases with a higher likelihood of settlement may warrant a lower contingency fee, reflecting the efficiency of resolution without extended court involvement.

Legal experience and experience may also contribute to a fee determination. Highly skilled and seasoned car accident lawyers often command a higher percentage due to their proficiency in navigating complex legal matters and maximizing compensation for their clients.

The lawyer’s track record of successful outcomes and reputation in the legal community can justify a higher fee.

Economic factors, such as the client's financial resources, may also affect the contingency fee negotiation. A lawyer, recognizing the importance of providing accessible legal representation, may accept a lower fee for clients facing financial constraints.

Ultimately, the negotiation process between the client and the lawyer is a key factor. Open and transparent communication about expectations, case details, and potential outcomes can contribute to a fair and mutually agreed-upon contingency fee percentage.

In essence, the contingency fee percentage in a car accident case is an arrangement that depends on the unique circumstances of each case, the complexity involved, the severity of injuries, the potential for settlement or trial, the lawyer's experience, and the client's financial situation.

Car Accident Types and Causes

Car accidents come in various forms, each linked to specific types of driver negligence. One common scenario is a rear-end collision, often occurring when drivers speed excessively or fail to maintain a safe following distance.

This negligence can result from distractions, such as texting or adjusting the radio, affecting a driver's ability to react promptly to sudden stops.

Another common type of car crash is the intersection collision, typically arising from drivers who disregard traffic signals or fail to yield the right-of-way at the proper times.

This form of negligence often leads to side-impact collisions, where one vehicle strikes the side of another vehicle. Failing to follow traffic rules, especially at intersections, significantly contributes to these incidents.

Distracted driving is a widespread form of negligence that causes car accidents. Using smartphones, eating, or engaging in other distracting activities diverts a driver's attention from the road, leading to a higher risk of collisions.

Texting while driving, in particular, has become a major contributor to accidents, as it combines visual, manual, and cognitive distractions.

Speeding is also a primary factor in various types of car accidents. Exceeding the speed limit reduces a driver's ability to react quickly to changing road conditions, increases stopping distances, and escalates the severity of collisions. Speeding frequently contributes to rear-end collisions, side-impact crashes, and rollover accidents.

Drunk driving remains another significant cause of local car accidents, leading to impaired judgment, reduced coordination, and delayed reaction times. Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs pose a serious threat on the road, increasing the likelihood of accidents and the severity of resulting injuries.

Reckless driving encompasses numerous types of negligent behaviors, including aggressive driving, tailgating, and weaving in and out of busy traffic. Such conduct heightens the risk of collisions and endangers the safety of other road users.

Weather-related accidents may also occur due to drivers failing to adjust their driving to adverse weather conditions. Neglecting to slow down on slippery roads or during heavy rain – or failing to use headlights in low visibility conditions – often contributes to these accidents.

Understanding the common types of car accidents and the corresponding driver negligence is crucial for promoting road safety. Other drivers must remain vigilant, adhere to traffic laws, and prioritize responsible behavior to reduce their risk of causing serious accidents and injuries.

Injuries That Car Accident Victims Are Most Likely to Suffer

Car accidents resulting from another driver’s negligence can lead to a range of injuries for both drivers and passengers. One common type of injury is whiplash, often occurring in rear-end collisions.

The forceful impact causes the victim’s head to jerk forward and backward rapidly, straining the neck muscles and ligaments and resulting in ongoing pain and stiffness.

In general, soft tissue injuries involve damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons. These injuries often manifest as sprains, strains, or contusions. The sudden deceleration or force in a car accident can cause the victim’s body to jolt or twist, resulting in soft tissue injuries that can be painful and may require ongoing physical therapy and rehabilitation.

Fractures are also prevalent in various types of car accidents, affecting bones in the arms, legs, ankles, wrists, ribs, or other parts of the body. The impact and force exerted during a collision can lead to fractures, ranging from minor to severe, depending on the circumstances.

Head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries, may also occur in car accidents. These injuries can happen when a victim’s head strikes the steering wheel, dashboard, or other surfaces inside the vehicle. The severity can vary, leading to symptoms like headaches, dizziness, or cognitive impairment.

Chest injuries may result from the force of a collision, particularly in frontal crashes. The force can cause the victim’s chest to collide with the steering wheel or airbag, leading to bruises, fractures, or internal injuries. Seatbelt-related injuries, such as bruising or fractures, can also occur.

Spinal injuries are another serious consequence of car accidents, potentially leading to long-term effects. The force of a collision can cause damage to the spine, resulting in herniated discs, fractures, or even paralysis in the most severe cases.

Internal injuries may occur when blunt force trauma affects the victim’s internal organs. This can lead to internal bleeding, organ damage, or abdominal injuries. These injuries may not always immediately appear, highlighting the importance of thorough medical examinations after a car accident.

If you suffered any of these injuries in a recent car crash, your car accident lawyer can begin gathering the documentation necessary to prove your case while you focus on getting better.

Deciding Whether to Settle or Litigate a Car Accident Case

After a car accident resulting from another driver's negligence, you may need to decide whether to settle or litigate. The extent of your injuries, available evidence, and the potential for fair compensation play important roles in making an informed choice.

Settling a car accident case often involves negotiating with the at-fault driver's insurance company. This route offers a quicker resolution, sparing both parties from lengthy trials and other legal proceedings.

The efficiency of settlement, however, depends on the willingness of the insurance company to provide a fair and reasonable settlement offer. If the offer aligns with the actual losses the victim incurred, then settling may be a viable option, providing a swifter path to financial compensation.

On the other hand, opting to litigate involves taking the case to court. This decision may be necessary when the insurance company offers an inadequate settlement or denies fault for the car crash.

Litigation frequently involves presenting evidence and witness testimony in a legal setting. While it extends the timeline for resolution, litigation offers the opportunity for a more comprehensive examination of the facts, potentially resulting in a more favorable outcome for the accident victim.

The severity of injuries sustained in the car accident may also influence the decision-making process. In cases involving minor injuries with straightforward medical expenses, a settlement may be the more practical and efficient solution. 

However, in cases involving severe injuries that lead to long-term medical treatment, rehabilitation, or permanent disability, the potential compensation from litigation may more accurately reflect the victim’s ongoing and future expenses.

The strength of available evidence is another important factor.

If fault for the accident is clear-cut, and there is ample evidence supporting the victim's claims, negotiating a settlement from a position of strength becomes more plausible.

However, if the other driver’s insurance company disputes fault – or evidence is lacking in the case – then pursuing litigation may be necessary to ensure a fair result.

Also, when it comes to contingency fee agreements, some car accident lawyers may charge a higher fee percentage if the case resolves during litigation (such as during a civil jury trial) than if it settles out of court.

Ultimately, the accident victim makes the final decision about whether to settle or litigate a car accident case.

Consult legal professionals who can provide guidance based on the details of the case. Evaluating the pros and cons of each option, considering the nature of injuries, the strength of evidence, and the potential for fair compensation, empowers individuals to make a well-informed choice that aligns with their best legal interests.

Recoverable Car Accident Damages 

Victims of car accidents pursuing a claim or lawsuit may seek financial recovery for various types of damages. Economic damages focus on the tangible financial losses incurred due to the accident.

This includes compensation for medical expenses, which span from immediate treatment costs to ongoing rehabilitation and therapy. Victims may also seek recovery for lost income, addressing the income they were unable to earn during their medical recovery period.

Property damage, covering the repair or replacement of damaged vehicles, is another component of economic damage. Additionally, victims may seek reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses related to their accident, such as transportation costs for medical appointments or the need for alternative transportation while their vehicle undergoes repairs.

On the non-economic side, mental distress represents the emotional toll of the accident. This includes compensation for psychological distress, anxiety, and trauma experienced as a direct result of the collision.

Inconvenience, stemming from the disruption to daily life resulting from the accident, may also be a consideration in the claim. This may involve the challenges of rearranging schedules, dealing with paperwork, and managing the aftermath of the car accident.

Pain and suffering, another important component of non-economic damages, acknowledges the physical and emotional pain that the victim had to endure. This compensation reflects the intangible aspects of the injury, recognizing the distress and discomfort that can persist long after the accident.

Loss of quality of life is another non-economic factor considered in a car accident claim. This addresses the negative effect the injuries have on the victim’s overall well-being, encompassing changes in lifestyle, diminished enjoyment of activities, and restrictions on daily life.

Loss of consortium pertains to the effect the injuries have on the victim’s relationships with others. This includes compensation for the loss of companionship, emotional support, and intimacy that the victim’s spouse or other family members experience due to the accident-related injuries.

Finally, the loss of use of a body part acknowledges the victim’s specific impairment or disability resulting from the accident. You may recover compensation for limitations resulting from the loss of use of a limb or body part, recognizing the challenges and adjustments that the victim must make.

Speak With a Car Accident Lawyer Right Away

Attorney Gene Riddle
Gene Riddle, Car Accident Lawyer

If you recently sustained injuries in a car crash that a negligent driver caused, a skilled car accident attorney in your area can explain your legal options to you in clear terms, as well as their contingency fee agreement.

Once you sign the agreement, your personal injury attorney can focus on filing the appropriate claim or lawsuit and pursuing the full monetary damages you need for your injuries.