Figuring out how to maximize your compensation after a car accident can be complicated. You will need to understand the financial impact of the medical bills and your lost wages, as well as how much compensation you can receive for noneconomic damages. Before hiring a car accident lawyer in Houston, TX, most people want to know how much they will pay in legal fees and why legal representation is a good investment in the long run.
How Much Does a Lawyer Take From Your Settlement in Texas?
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that their compensation is a percentage of your payout as opposed to a flat rate. According to the contingency fee model, you will not pay anything until your settlement is secured. Then, the amount is calculated according to the size of your settlement. In Texas, you can expect to pay a lawyer between 25-40% of your settlement.
Why Should You Hire a Lawyer?
Many people wonder whether or not working with a lawyer will pay off. Statistically, people who represent themselves have a disproportionate chance of walking away with nothing. Their cases are more likely to be thrown out due to avoidable errors, and they incur a greater chance of the insurance company refusing to settle. Among the people who secure a settlement, those who hire a lawyer tend to walk away with much higher payouts than those who do not.
Working with a lawyer puts knowledge of the law on your side. Beyond understanding personal injury law, a skilled lawyer should be familiar with the tactics insurance companies use to under-value claims and the psychological effect of various types of evidence on juries. Here are some of the reasons why working with a lawyer can increase your payout and ultimately offset the legal costs:
A Lawyer Will Fight for the Full Value of Your Claim
While personal injury law specifies that you can hold the liable party accountable for medical expenses, lost wages, and noneconomic damages, the insurance company might not be quick to offer you the full value of your claim. As soon as you accept a settlement, your case closes and you lose the right to pursue any additional damages that were not included. Your lawyer’s first job is to identify all of the damages you can collect.
In addition to tallying medical bills and calculating how much income you lost while you were recovering, he or she will point out any damages you did not realize you could claim. For example, you might not know that if your injury left you with a scar, you could demand monetary compensation for disfigurement. Many people are surprised by the kinds of damages they can collect and the total value of their claim.
A Lawyer Will Keep Track of the Deadlines and Documents
Pursuing compensation for an accident is a legal process that involves strict deadlines and protocols. Navigating the process can be difficult, especially if you are not feeling your best as a result of your injuries. Your lawyer will make sure that you are aware of how to meet your obligations as the claimant without making any errors that could cost you your case.
You Will Have Help Reviewing Your Settlement Offers
The first settlement offer you receive from an insurance company will likely be too low. You are not obligated to accept any settlement that you feel is insufficient. Your lawyer can help you compare the amount of money being offered against the value of your claim. If the two of you decide to press the insurance company for more compensation, your lawyer can negotiate on your behalf.
You Will Get a Thorough Investigation
Taking a claim to court and negotiating with an insurance company both require evidence to give your arguments weight. Your lawyer will do a thorough investigation into the causes of the accident and the extent of your losses. By collecting evidence like medical records, surveillance footage, and witness statements, he or she will work to support your case. Then, if the insurance company or the defense comes back with counterarguments, ample evidence can help your side overcome them.
Your Side Will Appear Strong and Professional
Negotiating with a big insurance company or going up against them in court requires persuasion, clarity, and an unyielding commitment to achieving a positive outcome. Having a professional attorney on your side will show the insurance company that you are serious about getting the compensation you deserve. If your case goes to trial, a well-presented case has the best chance of generating a sizeable payout.
Understanding the Legal Fees
Why Are Some Cases More Costly for the Lawyer to Accept?
You may wonder why the legal fee for some cases is as low as 25% while others can cost up to 40%. The range is due to the factors that can make a case riskier or more time-consuming for the lawyer to accept.
If your case involves a straightforward, two-vehicle crash with ample evidence to show that the other driver was at fault, you will probably find yourself on the low end of the price range.
The following factors can require a higher percentage because they can greatly complicate your case or make it harder to win:
- Multiple vehicles
- One or more commercial vehicles
- One or more government vehicles
- One or more fatalities
- Limited evidence in your favor
- Evidence that you contributed to the crash
Going to Trial vs. Settling Outside of Court
Cases that end in a settlement rather than a trial tend to be less time-consuming for the law firm, and most lawyers will charge a lower percentage for clients who do not need to go to court. If you do set a trial date, you will need to pay court fees in addition to your lawyer’s percentage. Often, lawyers can arrange to take the court fees out of the settlement.
Your lawyer will try to secure the settlement you deserve outside of court. However, if the insurance company does not offer you a fair settlement, your lawyer should give you candid advice on whether or not going to trial is in your best interests. You should be sure to choose a lawyer with a strong track record of both securing settlements and winning lawsuits.
Schedule a Consultation With a Car Accident Lawyer
In Texas, you can work with some of the best personal injury lawyers without incurring any up-front costs to secure their services. The free consultation is a good opportunity to ask any questions you might have about the legal fee structure, the likelihood of your case going to trial, and the chance of securing a sizeable settlement. The lawyer you meet with may have some creative ideas for building strong arguments while keeping costs down.
A Track Record of Excellence in Houston, TX
Not only can hiring a car accident lawyer increase your payout, but having a professional handle the legal aspects of your case will take some of the burden of dealing with the accident off your shoulders. Our transparent fee structure is designed to give you access to the best lawyers in Houston, TX with no up-front costs and nothing due unless you win. To discuss your accident with a board-certified attorney, contact Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner.