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Posted On July 13, 2022 Personal Injury

Is Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit Worth the Trouble?

When deciding whether to pursue a car accident claim, the question is, what will you get out of it?

In the kind of high-value claim for which you should have a lawyer, you will often see settlements in the range of tens of thousands of dollars. The settlement amounts for your typical personal injury cases range from $3,000 to $75,000, with an average payout of $52,900, according to Lawyers.com.

Yet, when you look at the results of top attorneys you’ll often see a long record of car accident claims that result in payouts of $300,000, $600,000, even settlements up to and over $1 million.

How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?

We know the cost is top of mind for most people who are considering hiring a lawyer. In fact, more than half of our survey respondents said they would be reluctant to hire a lawyer because “they charge too much money.”

No one should go without the medical care they need, be forced into bankruptcy by an accident, or give up life as they knew it because they can’t afford a lawyer to fight for them. That’s the reason many attorneys work on a contingency fee, so you have no upfront cost to start your claim. This means you can get legal representation without paying out of pocket, and the fees will be paid from your settlement as a percent of total sum. That percentage rate is generally determined by state regulations, and it depends on the amount of money your attorney is able to get for you. On average that percentage is about 33%

A third of your payout may sound like a lot, but remember, your attorney brings immense value to your claim. There’s a reason why lawyers get clients more than 3.5 times more money, on average, than unrepresented claimants get for themselves. This added value goes well beyond making up for the 30 percent fee your attorney will take. In addition, your auto accident attorney will advance the cost of up front expenses, so you never have to pay these out of pocket. This fee goes toward those expenses.

Will You See Any of the Money After the Lawyer Fees and Taxes Are Paid?

Yes! Your lawyer should do everything possible to get you the full amount of money you are entitled to. This amount should be considerably more than the outstanding bills – which may attorneys will work to negotiate down for you – and the expenses of pursuing your claim.

The attorneys’ fee will be limited to a percentage of what you recover, so there’s no way you’ll pay a lawyer more than you’ll actually receive for the claim, and lawsuit settlements for compensation generally are not considered taxable income.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Settlement? How Much of My Time Will It Take?

Getting compensation for your claim is a process.

It takes time, in part, because you don’t want to agree to a settlement amount until you are far enough along in your recovery to know how much your medical treatment will cost you and how much work you are likely to miss. Otherwise, you can’t be sure that you’re getting the full amount of money you’re entitled to.

It can also take time for both sides of the legal matter to review all evidence, for your attorney to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, and – if necessary – to get a court date for a trial.

  • In claims in which the injury resolves relatively quickly – although it probably doesn’t seem “quick” to you, as you go through it – law firms commonly wrap up the case in a matter of months.
  • In cases in which recovery takes a long time or the facts of the accident are complex, you may be looking at a matter of years.

Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that you personally will devote months or years to pursuing the claim. Rather, you entrust the case to your attorney and, for the most part, avoid the burden of having to keep working to advance it. Your lawyer handles everything from gathering the evidence to negotiating with the insurance company, so you no longer have to worry about the piles of paperwork, frustrating phone calls with the insurance adjuster, and other hassles.

Your legal team should contact you regularly to keep you updated on the progression of your case and let you know if you have to participate in a legal proceeding, like a deposition or arbitration. They should also help you understand what to expect. But the amount of time you have to spend worrying about the legal matter is minimal.

I’ve seen firsthand what a difference it makes to families affected by a car accident to have help, support, and a reason to believe that things will get better, even in the most difficult moments. It’s worth your time, health and peace of mind to contact a car accident attorney to find out what your rights and options are.