Being involved in any type of car mishap can be very frustrating. Not only do you have to deal with multiple things such as trying to get your insurance company to get your car fixed, dealing with any physical or bodily injury to yourself or other parties to the accident and the resulting pain and trauma, ensuring that all your medical bills are settled, possibly being unable to work as a result of any physical injury, among others.
Most people rarely ever have any interaction with a lawyer until they absolutely have to, and in situations where they are in trouble with the law, they are usually in a bad situation or state of mind that they are willing to do anything to get out of it. Including agreeing to pay whatever amount of money it takes to get the matter resolved with the help of an attorney. The sad reality however is that a lot of people are often not able to afford the often exorbitant costs to hire an attorney, even if they wanted to. And when you consider the fact that there are often several different types of legal fees, it can often make the situation all the more confusing and worrying.
There are however, a few options that are available to you that can potentially help reduce the financial burden of having to hire an attorney, or at least prevent you spending a lot of money in doing so.
Note however, that the vast majority of lawyers usually give a free initial consultation. This can be quite beneficial to you to help you speak to several lawyers and sample them out to get a feel for who they are, without needing to incur paying multiple consultation fees.
Options to Help You Deal With Huge Attorney Fees After an Accident
Here is a look at some options that are available to you to potentially help you lower the costs of retaining the services of an attorney.
- Contingency Fee: This is when a client and an attorney agree on a particular amount or percentage to be paid to the lawyer if the case wins and a settlement is paid to the plaintiff. This payment usually comes from the won settlement and the percentage is usually based on what was agreed by both parties, but is also often governed by local rules of “reasonableness” that varies from state to state. The figure often ranges between 25 to 40 percent, with 33.33 percent being a standard figure. Note however, that some attorneys usually include other costs and expenses incurred during the course of the case, which will be paid for from the won settlement, in addition to the agreed percentage of the won settlement.
This is exactly why it is very important that you read and understand the contract that is presented to you before you sign it. And ask the attorney to explain anything that is unclear. It is also a good idea to negotiate for a lower percentage cut in such contingency cases.The good part is that the vast majority of car accident attorneys and other types of personal injury lawyers already offer this type of payment plan as a defacto, and you will only ever find an attorney who takes a case on a contingency basis, only if they are very confident they can win it, thereby posing little risk for them and yourself included. So a win-win situation.
- Pro bono Service: Some states or even countries require some pro bono hours to be rendered by lawyers. Lawyers who are willing to work for free, for a particular case will be matched with people who qualify to be availed of such free legal service. There are also lawyer associations or non-profit organizations who are willing to provide free legal services to local residents of the community, or to those who cannot afford it. You can always inquire about these services and see if you or your case meets their requirements, and if you are willing to use them.
- Legal Aid Programs: Legal aid programs are sometimes government run and funded. Sometimes they are privately run and funded. The one common feature that they almost always have is that they are free. There will usually be certain requirements to be met by anyone wishing to avail themselves of such a service, but will usually revolve around low-income people. In the United States, several models of legal aid exists and are practiced, such as the staff attorney, judicare and community legal clinic models.
- New and/or “baby” lawyers: Because they are relatively new to the profession and eager to build a name and reputation, which can take a while, lawyers who have just been called to bar are often more than not willing to accept much less money for the same service than more established lawyers or law firms. It is for this exact reason that they may be a cheaper option for someone who cannot afford the fees of a more established law firm.
While they likely will have less experience, that may be counterbalanced by their lower legal fees, their being more abreast with the latest happenings in the industry, likely being more tech savvy, and other such advantages they may bring to the table.
A saying goes that “you pay for what you get,” and in any of the options mentioned above, the assumption might be implied that if you pay little to nothing for the legal service that you use, then you should expect to get a corresponding level of legal counsel. This this may not always be the case, as there are many cases of top-notch lawyers and law firms who offer pro-bono legal service or legal clinics. There are sadly also many others on the low end of the spectrum. The most important thing is to always sound out as many of them as possible to get a feel for the “best fit.”
Are you a resident of the Ventura county, or in fact the state of California who is looking to consult with an attorney over a car accident or personal injury case? Then contact us to speak with one of our attorneys.