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What If I Can’t Afford a Lawyer for My Car Accident Case?

Car accidents often leave victims with personal injuries, property damage, lost wages, and other problems that are not only stressful but also put a financial strain on them. Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident usually means negotiating with insurance companies, giving statements to the police, being seen by doctors, and so on.

In this context, it’s easy to see how things can get overwhelming, especially for those who have never dealt with legal or serious medical issues before. Hiring a lawyer is certainly a great idea. However, you may be wondering: who can really afford it?

man speaking to st. louis car accident lawyer

What Is a Contingency Fee?

Most people are familiar with the fact that a lawyer is paid on an hourly basis and that the costs of legal help can be quite high. With this belief in mind, it’s understandable that so many people hesitate to hire a lawyer, even if they really need one. 

Fortunately, in personal injury cases, the fees are established differently. Most lawyers who specialize in these types of cases will work on a contingency fee

Essentially what this means is that in instead of taking a fixed fee or demanding an hourly fee, regardless of the outcome of your case, personal injury lawyers agree to receive their fee only if they get you a settlement or if they win the case in court. This protects car accident victims from being left with medical and legal expenses on top of a losing case. It also provides a guarantee that your lawyer will do their best to get you the biggest amount possible.

The Contingency Percentage

When you are browsing for a St. Louis car accident lawyer, you are obviously looking for the best one out there. Naturally, there are expensive lawyers and more affordable ones. Contingency fees are defined as a percentage of the final settlement you will get. 

You can expect a contingency percentage ranging between 20 and 40 percent, with 33% being a common choice. This percentage can vary with the complexity of the case, and it may go higher if the case goes to court.

Other Payment Details You Should Know About

Besides establishing the contingency fee, you should discuss payment details with your lawyer during your first consultation (which is usually free). Be clear about when the fee will be paid, who pays for the legal taxes (which are separate from your lawyer’s fee), and if there is any arrangement possible regarding medical fees that you can’t afford. 

Yes, You Can Actually Afford a Lawyer

As you can see, hiring a St. Louis auto accident attorney is significantly less risky due to the contingency fee system. If your personal injury lawyer demands a fixed fee, it’s likely a sign that they are not confident in winning the case. 

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Updated: August 13, 2021