Suffering a car accident injury can place a heavy strain on your finances. With the burden of mounting medical bills, the last thing you want to worry about is the additional expense of hiring a lawyer. Fortunately, most automobile injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. Whether you’re filing a claim in Casper, Wyoming Laramie, Wyoming, or elsewhere in the state, you’re likely to find a contingency fee structure with most personal injury lawyers you meet.
As Wyoming is an at-fault state, you may seek compensation for your losses from the negligent driver who caused your injury. To do so, you may be able to file a personal injury claim with the other driver’s insurance company. A car accident lawyer can file the claim for you, calculate your damages, gather evidence to strengthen your claim, and negotiate with the insurance company to win you a fair settlement.
When the attorney you hire agrees to a contingency fee structure, they’re working on a “no win, no fee” basis: their payment becomes contingent on them winning your case. This means you won’t need to pay your attorney anything until the case is resolved and a settlement is won. Your lawyer will then take a percentage of that final settlement. And if you lose the case, you won’t have to pay your attorney a dime.
In most cases, the attorney will charge a third of the final compensation won. So if the insurance provider agrees to a $60,000 settlement, your attorney will take $20,000, and you’ll receive the remaining $40,000.
This portion of the settlement pie may vary, and can sometimes go as high as 40%. The percentage will depend on the experience of the lawyer and the strengths and weaknesses they see in your case. It may also depend on the amount of work they need to do. For example, if you’ve already gathered plenty of evidence from the accident scene, your attorney may lower their fee as you’ve saved them some time and effort.
At the outset of a car accident claim, it’s often difficult to predict how much work the case will take to resolve. Some cases reach a quick settlement agreement within a couple of months. Others take a year or more and require a lawsuit, jury trial, and court-awarded payout.
For this reason, automobile injury attorneys may occasionally offer a sliding-scale contingency fee structure, whereby the percentage they receive as their fee depends on the stage of progression the case reaches before completion. So if the case is resolved in the early negotiation stages, they might charge 25%, and if the case requires a jury trial, they may increase this to 40%.
Accident victims benefit in many ways from a contingency fee payment structure. Here are a few reasons why such an arrangement is the norm in almost all car accident cases.
Even if your claim is extremely strong with clear liability and easily-proven damages, it will still take many months to receive your final settlement check. Most car accident victims must wait nine to 18 months for the check to arrive.
During this time, you need to pay medical bills, vehicle repair costs, and living expenses. A contingency fee arrangement with your lawyer means you have one less immediate expense to worry about.
Generally speaking, the sooner you file your claim and begin the legal process, the sooner you’ll receive your settlement and put the entire experience behind you. Also, eyewitness accounts can begin to fade and evidence may become lost as time passes. It’s usually best to file a claim as promptly as possible.
With a contingency fee arrangement, you needn’t delay proceedings while you struggle to finance your legal fees. You can hire a lawyer immediately and leap into action.
With a “no win, no fee” payment basis, experienced trial attorneys become accessible to any injured victim, no matter their financial situation. Contingency fee arrangements create a more equitable system, where even very low-income individuals can effectively defend their rights against large organizations such as trucking companies with well-funded legal teams.
With a contingency fee arrangement, the car accident attorney is taking all the financial risk onto their own shoulders. If they don’t achieve a favorable outcome, they won’t receive any pay for months of hard work.
Because of this, an attorney will only take on cases they feel sure of winning. Therefore, any experienced lawyers agreeing to take you on as a client is a much-needed vote of confidence in your case.
Every personal injury claim entails various case-related expenses in addition to legal fees. Court filing fees, deposition fees, medical record copying fees, and postage costs all need to be paid. As do the costs of retaining special investigators and expert witnesses. All these expenses may add up to a considerable sum, especially if a jury trial is involved.
Case-related expenses will usually be included in your contingency fee arrangement, meaning your attorney will cover them irrespective of the outcome. It’s a good idea to ensure this is the case before signing a written agreement with your lawyer. Otherwise, you might find yourself saddled with these extra costs during the entire claims process.
Your attorney may not be the only party with a claim on a portion of your final settlement when it finally arrives. In the months while you’re waiting for the case to reach completion, you need to pay for your medical care and other living costs. It’s not uncommon for injured victims to make a claim on their own health insurance to help with treatment bills.
In these cases, your health insurer may require a lien on your final car accident settlement. This would allow them to reimburse their money from the settlement. Some medical providers are also willing to defer the cost of their treatment under a similar contingency fee arrangement. A local automobile accident attorney may be able to put you in touch with these providers in Casper or Laramie, Wyoming and negotiate a fair payment structure with them.
While speaking to prospective attorneys, ask about their fee structures. A suitable lawyer will be open and transparent about their legal fees and working process. You might also ask about the outcome of previous cases that were similar to yours and request testimonials and references from prior clients.
It’s important to avoid attorneys who don’t seek to maximize compensation for their clients but rather look for fast settlements and a quick turnover of new clients. The best attorney will be one who takes a sincere interest in your situation and is determined to fight tooth and nail to achieve the optimal financial outcome for you both.
If you’re looking for an experienced trial lawyer in Laramie or Casper, Wyoming, contact Ochs Law Firm today at (307) 739-3959 for a free consultation and case evaluation. With a seasoned car accident attorney by your side, you stand a higher chance of winning the full and fair compensation you deserve.
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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.