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How Much Do Attorneys Take From an Accident Settlement?

The thought of hiring an attorney to represent you in a personal injury case can be overwhelming, especially if you are already struggling to pay for medical expenses. Understanding the compensation model most automobile injury attorneys in Laramie, Wyoming and Cheyenne, Wyoming use can help you feel more comfortable getting the legal representation you need. In this article, we will discuss how contingencies fees work and how much you can expect a lawyer to cost.

How Much Do Attorneys Take From an Accident Settlement?

A lawyer’s fee for representing a client in a personal injury case depends on a number of factors including:

  • Whether they charge a flat rate or a contingency fee
  • The complexity of the accident
  • Whether or not the case goes to trial
  • The size of the settlement or jury award

For a smaller accident that yields a $10,000 payout, you might pay an attorney $3,000. For a serious incident that goes to trial, you might pay $45,000 on a $100,000 payout. To explain these figures, we’ll need to discuss why some cases are more straightforward than others, and what compensation models are available. A lawyer’s rate of compensation is negotiable, and your lawyer should give you a breakdown of the fees before you enlist his or her services.

Flat Rate or Contingency Fee?

When you hire an attorney, you will pay either a flat rate or a contingency fee. A flat rate is a set figure that will be charged regardless of the case outcome. A contingency fee is a percentage of the settlement or jury award that is taken after the case is resolved. If you are hiring a lawyer to represent you in a personal injury case, he or she will most likely charge a contingency fee.

Why Do Most Personal Injury Lawyers Use the Contingency Fee Model?

In personal injury cases, the client is often struggling with their injuries and their medical expenses. Often, people need to take time off work to recover, resulting in lost wages. By charging a contingency fee, personal injury lawyers can take on more cases, representing clients who would not be able to pay for legal services upfront.

How Do Clients Benefit From the Contingency Fee Model?

Apart from being accessible to clients who might be strapped for cash, the contingency fee model provides several other benefits. First, it incentivizes the lawyer to win the case and maximize the payout. Contingency fees are sometimes known as the “no-fee, no-win” model because the lawyer takes a percentage of the amount that is earned on behalf of the client. The bigger the win for the client, the bigger the win for the lawyer.

Second, there is no risk that the client will pay fees for a case that yields no payout. In fact, lawyers who operate according to the contingency fee model are less likely to take on cases that have a poor chance of being successful, leading to a high degree of transparency in the initial conversations with the clients.

What Percentage of the Payout Do Contingency Fee Lawyers Charge?

In Wyoming, a typical contingency fee for an auto accident is 33-45%. Ethical considerations spelled out in the Wyoming Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers specify that the fee for representation, in any case, must be “reasonable.”

33-45% is considered a reasonable range given the amount of time a lawyer must put into the case and the degree of risk he or she must take on in order to represent the client. Whether your case is on the lower or higher end of this range depends on the details of the accident and whether or not the case goes to trial.

Which Factors Increase or Decrease the Percentage a Lawyer Will Charge?

33-45% is a fairly wide range, so what factors can cause your legal fees to go up or down? In general, the more complex a case is to investigate and argue, the higher the percentage will be. Cases that involve commercial vehicles, catastrophic injuries, wrongful death, government vehicles, and pedestrians tend to be more time-consuming for the attorney.

On the other hand, if your case was fairly straightforward, you may be able to negotiate a lower contingency fee. Cases involving minor injuries and ample evidence usually take less time to represent, especially if there is little chance that you will be found partially responsible for the accident.

How Does Going to Trial Affect the Contingency Fee?

If your claim can be settled outside of court, you will avoid spending extra time and money. In addition to legal fees, going to trial incurs court fees such as the court reporter fee, any deposition costs, and filing fees. However, in some situations, taking your case all the way to trial is the best option, especially if the insurance company refuses to grant you a reasonable payout and you have enough evidence to secure a favorable verdict.

Most lawyers will increase the percentage of the contingency fee for claims that go to trial in order to account for the time spent preparing the case. If you are concerned about your legal fees, your lawyer may have some ideas on how to keep them low.

Making a Plan for the Court Fees

Additionally, you should discuss how the court fees will be paid and how much they are likely to cost. Some lawyers and their clients prefer to have a bill that comes due each month. Others prefer to take all of the court fees out of the jury award if the case is successful.

Will Working With a Lawyer Pay Off in the Long Run?

On average, claimants who work with lawyers on personal injury cases receive payouts that are significantly higher than individuals who represent themselves. A skilled lawyer can offset the legal fees and increase the amount of money the client walks away with by:

  • Finding additional damages to add to the claim
  • Negotiating aggressively with the insurance company
  • Investigating all opportunities to gather evidence
  • Anticipating counter-arguments
  • Litigating persuasively in court, if necessary

Individuals who represent themselves risk making errors that could invalidate their claim. For example, failing to file within the statute of limitations could cause your case to become void. On the other hand, the statute of limitations can be extended in situations involving injuries that did not become apparent for some time after the accident. Without speaking with an attorney, an individual whose case is outside the statute of limitations may miss an opportunity to hold the liable party accountable.

You Don’t Need to Go Through the Process Alone

In addition to the financial pay-off of hiring a lawyer, having an expert handle the legal aspects of your case can relieve some of your burden during a stressful time. Individuals who have been hurt through no fault of their own should be able to focus on recovering from their injuries, not navigating through a complex legal system. A skilled attorney can handle your case with professionalism and efficiently, keeping you well-informed every step of the way.

Talk With Automobile Injury Attorneys in Laramie, Wyoming or Cheyenne, Wyoming

Our automobile injury attorneys in Laramie, Wyoming and Cheyenne, Wyoming are committed to maximizing the amount of money we bring in for your claim. We value transparency regarding our process and our fees, and we are happy to discuss your claim during a consultation. To schedule an initial meeting, contact Ochs Law Firm.

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Jason Ochs is a leading Wyoming personal injury lawyer. He has represented class action, pharmaceutical, and medical cases throughout multiple states.

Jason E. Ochs

Jason began his legal career in 2002 with a national multi-district litigation law firm in Newport Beach, California. There he worked on a variety of high-profile, complex-litigation projects including pharmaceutical and medical-device litigation across the country.

The Ochs Law Firm epitomizes professionalism and commitment to all of our clients, regardless of the size of the case or the might of the Defendant. We practice in Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas and California in personal injury litigation, medical malpractice, defective products, class action lawsuits, Qui Tam lawsuits, litigation across multiple districts, bad faith insurance, and civil litigation.

We look forward to providing top quality service and representation for you and your family.