If you were injured in a car accident, you would likely incur a significant amount of medical bills and other financial losses. Arkansas is a “fault-based” state, so if another driver caused the accident, they should be held liable for any expenses or costs associated with your injury. However, holding another motorist accountable for their conduct is rarely straightforward – especially if they present a different version of events. Even when the cause of an accident is clear, the at-fault driver’s insurance provider might not offer you a reasonable settlement.
To maximize your financial recovery, it is often advisable to hire our experienced Fayetteville car accident attorneys. In another article, we discussed what an average car accident case would cost. While cost is a determining factor in many decisions, how that expense is paid is also important. An accident victim who has substantial medical bills and is missing work might not believe they have the disposable income to afford a skilled attorney. Fortunately, attorney fees are often paid on a contingency basis.
Some people are familiar with the concept of contingency fees. Simply stated, when attorney fees are paid on a contingency basis, you are not required to pay your attorney until the case settles. There are two benefits to the system for an injured victim. First, there are no out-of-pocket attorney’s fees to being your case and, second, your attorney will be motivated to win the case, obtaining the highest award possible to increase their fees. If you have specific questions about how contingency fees work, call our law offices at (479) 316-0438.
What is a Contingency Fee Agreement?
A contingency fee agreement (CFA) is a unique payment arrangement with our Arkansas lawyers that must be in writing. Under this type of agreement, an attorney will represent you in a car accident case without an upfront payment. Instead of paying for the services before beginning the case, an accident victim agrees to pay the lawyer a percentage of the award if the case is successful – either through a negotiation with an insurance company or by taking the case to trial.
CFAs are most common in personal injury cases, including those arising from car accidents. When a lawyer decides to take a case, they base their decision on the legal strength of the case and the likely damages that will be awarded. When our Arkansas personal injury lawyers agree to represent a car accident victim, they will work to obtain the highest award possible.
Under a contingency fee agreement, your attorney’s fee will be a percentage of the total compensation awarded. Typically, this percentage is 33%. However, the percentage could be higher or lower depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. In some situations, the agreement could include a graduate percentage based on how the case progresses, such as going to trial.
Additionally, a CFA will often include a requirement to reimburse expenses. Expenses generally increase if a car accident case goes to trial and include court filing fees, accident investigators, medical experts, or other costs involved in litigating a personal injury lawsuit.
Paying Our Arkansas Car Accident Lawyers Through a Contingency Fee Agreement
Contingency agreements are beneficial for both the lawyer and the client. The client obtains legal representation without the risk of paying a hefty fee for an unsuccessful case. On the other hand, your Arkansas lawyers are incentivized to win the highest award possible.
As stated above, attorney fees under a contingency agreement are calculated according to a percentage stated in the fee and representation contract. In most cases, court costs and other expenses will be deducted before the lawyer’s fees are calculated.
To illustrate how this works, imagine you were hurt in a car accident. The at-fault driver’s insurance company initially offered a settlement of $40,000. However, after retaining the services of our Arkansas car accident lawyers, the settlement amount is increased to $100,000.
After you agree upon a settlement or are awarded a judgment by a jury, the first thing deducted is the court costs. For instance, the cost of filing a personal injury lawsuit might be $200. Other expenses include $400 for serving subpoenas and $5,300 for an expert witness. Additional miscellaneous expenses, including copying fees, postage, and other costs involved with litigating a personal injury case, total $100. The $6,000 of combined expenses is deducted from the $100,000 award, leaving a total of $94,000.
According to the CFA, the attorney’s fees are one-third of the total compensation. Therefore, our Bella Vista car accident lawyer will be paid $31,020, or 33.3% of $94,000. The remaining $62,980, minus the reimbursement of any medical expenses, would go to the accident victim. This amount is $20,000 more than was originally offered.
Because our Arkansas lawyers are paying the upfront expenses and assuming the risk, contingency fee agreements are a way for people with limited resources and income to obtain the services of an experienced legal representative. This cost-effective method works in favor of a car accident victim, whether the case is settled through a negotiation with an insurance company or a drawn-out fight in court. The important thing to remember is that your attorney does not get paid unless you receive the compensation you deserve.
Contact Our Arkansas Car Accident Lawyers to Discuss Representation Through a Contingency Fee Agreement
In nearly every personal injury case, a contingency fee agreement is the best way to secure experienced legal representation. Our Rogers personal injury lawyers invite you to contact our law offices if you have been injured in a car accident. We will explain how a contingency fee agreement works and what you could expect if you retain our services. Call (479) 316-0438 to review your options.