After a serious car accident, you’re going to have a lot of bills to pay. Maybe you’re thinking you should skip hiring a lawyer, to save you a little money.
We would caution against that approach, because it shouldn’t cost you anything up front to hire a car accident attorney. Today, we’re going to break down what kind of costs and fees are associated with hiring an attorney to represent you, so you can feel more confident in your decision.
Do I Need an Attorney for My Car Accident Case in Tennessee?
If you've been injured in a car accident in Tennessee, you're going to need an attorney to adequately represent you. The reason is because the insurance company that's going to be adjusting your claim already has a team of adjusters, investigators, and attorneys working against you to minimize your recovery. A personal injury law firm like mine will help you take on that insurance company head on. We make sure we get the right experts, we get the right proof, to present your case in a way that the insurance company will understand and appreciate it.
If they don't take your case seriously, we'll take them to court. Big wrecks happen in Tennessee in Nashville every day on our interstates – I-65, I-24, and I-40. Wrecks hurt people and when that happens, you're going to need a lawyer that knows how to handle your case to make sure you get the recovery you deserve. If you need help with an automobile accident reach out to me at 615-425-2500 or log on at Rockylawfirm.com.
Car accident attorneys and contingency fees
The first thing you need to know is, most car accident attorneys work on contingency. That means that their payment is contingent, or dependent, on you winning your case. Our firm works entirely on contingency, so there are no up-front costs to our clients. Furthermore, if we don’t win, we don’t get paid: period.
So, how does that work?
It’s simple. Once you hire your Nashville accident attorney, he or she reviews your medical records, deals with your insurance company, gets all the paperwork together, and so forth. Based on the work he or she does, you’ll decide whether you want to settle with your insurance company (usually for a much more appropriate amount than what you would’ve been offered on your own) or go to trial.
Then, once the settlement has been accepted or the trial has been won, your attorney will take a percentage of your final award for his or her fee.
How are contingency fees calculated in a car wreck case?
When you hire a car accident attorney, you don’t pay any fees up-front. Instead, your lawyer will charge you a certain percentage of your award – usually 25% to 40% – after the case is over. Most attorneys charge about 33%, on average.
EXAMPLE: You are hit by another vehicle, and you sustain injuries. A jury awards you $150,000 for your claim. Your attorneys’ fees in this scenario will be $50,000.
Other forms of payment for Nashville car accident lawyers
Though the majority of accident lawyers work on contingency, not every lawyer does. You might also be charged:
- By the hour. Some attorneys charge by the hour, regardless of whether or not you win. They may ask for their fees up front or after you get your award. Lawyers who work on contingency don’t get paid if you don’t get paid.
- On investigation basis. This is similar to contingency, because the upfront costs are limited, but it is essentially a case on a “test” basis. Basically, the attorney looks into your case, and then decides whether or not he wants to take it, after he has investigated what happened. If he chooses not to take your case, you may still have to pay him for the work that he’s done.
- On a payment plan. Some attorneys will offer you a payment plan, if they charge by the hour, or if they charge for expenses regardless for whether or not they win the case.
- On retainer. This is a common fee schedule for attorneys who practice other types of law, but it could apply to your accident, too. A retainer is a set amount of money that you pay an attorney at the onset of your case. Then, he or she deducts fees and expenses from that retainer. When the money is gone, he or she will either charge you another lump sum, or wait until your award is sent, and then deduct any remaining fees from that.
Do I still have to pay a car accident attorney if I lose my case?
If your lawyer works on contingency, then you will not have to pay attorneys’ fees if you do not win your case. You may have to reimburse him for out-of-pocket expenses, such as hiring an accident reconstructionist, but all of that should be negotiated between you and your attorney when you meet. Make sure to ask before you sign any contracts or paperwork.
Is hiring a lawyer for my Nashville car accident worth it?
Yes, it is. In fact, you can probably save some money by hiring an attorney to represent you in a claim for compensation if you have car accident injuries.
- First, because if your lawyer is handling your case, that means you don’t have to. You can concentrate on getting to your doctors’ offices and on getting well, so you can get back to your life and your job sooner.
- Second, because insurance companies are more likely to offer you a just settlement award if you have an attorney – especially when he is well-known in Nashville for being a fierce trial lawyer.
- Third, because going to trial costs money. If you hire a lawyer on contingency, you don’t have to pay any of those costs upfront.
- Fourth, because lawyers negotiate down other important things like hospital or health insurance liens. In Tennessee, after a wreck, a hospital or health insurance company must be repaid from your personal injury settlement for any expenses it paid on your behalf. The attorney may be able to significantly lower this amount through skillful and strategic negotiation putting more money from a settlement back into your pocket.
- Fifth and finally, because your attorney is going to help you get the care you need. We help our clients with their rentals, with towing costs, and with finding the right experts to support their claims. If you or your loved one needs additional care, like a home health aide or time spent in a rehabilitation facility, we can help with that too. We’ve already vetted these resources, so that’s less time you have to spend worrying, and less money you might have to spend traveling around and interviewing people.
If you sustained injuries in a car accident in Nashville, the last thing you want to do is try to negotiate with the insurance company on your own. You could end up losing out on a significant sum of money, if you do.
Don’t let your fear keep you from getting the help you need. At Rocky McElhaney Law Firm, we take all our cases on contingency, so you don’t pay anything up front. To schedule a free consultation at our office in Nashville, Hendersonville, or Knoxville, please call 615-425-2500 or fill out our contact form.