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How Much Do Car Accidents Lawyers Charge?

Posted on November 4, 2015

In Alabama, it is customary for victims of car accidents to pay a contingency fee to their personal injury attorney in Birmingham. While most other lawyers charge either a flat fee or work on a hourly basis, attorneys handling auto crashes involving injuries almost exclusively charge a percentage fee, meaning they get a certain amount of the final recovery.

Historically, a contingency fee is charged to Alabama personal injury clients in lieu of paying up front. The rationale here is that many personal injury victims don’t have the ability or inclination to “pay as you go”, due to the severity of the injury or lack of sufficient funds. Lawyers will fund or advance monies to prosecute and handle the case with the expectation of getting paid on the back end. The indirect result of this is that auto accident lawyers will not handle a case they think is without merit, otherwise they would be sinking money into a case that will not result in a favorable outcome.

1. What percentage do lawyers charge? While there are a few exceptions, most Alabama vehicle accident law firms charge 1/3 to 40%, meaning that this is the percentage they take from the final settlement or recovery.

2. What about case expenses? Your attorney will not front cash and not expect to get it back. Most contingency fee contracts (sometimes called “retainer agreements”) provide for the deduction of reasonable case expenses before either the client or attorney get their portion. Common case expenses include the court filing fee, investigation, accident reconstruction by experts, ordering medical records, subpoenas and deposition costs.

3. How are my medical bills taken care of? Payment of medical bills is the client’s responsibility under Alabama law. So, if your portion of a $100,000 settlement is $66,666, and you owe the local hospital $5,000, you will net $61,666.

4. How will I know if my lawyer over charges me? If you have an ethical, well-respected injury attorney, you will not be over charged. But, if you question the expenses or your portion of the settlement, request an itemization or break-down of the case expenses and distribution of proceeds.

If you have any questions about legal fees in auto accident claims, feel free to call the Birmingham car accident lawyers at Drake Law Firm.