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Written by: Steven R. Clawson
| Read Time: 6 minutes

If you were in a car accident that was caused by someone else, you are entitled to compensation. You should not have to be financially responsible for the negligence of another driver.

Driver error is the leading cause of car accidents in California. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2019, there were  2,740,000 car accidents in the U.S. that resulted in injury and 6,756,000 total accidents.

Being in an accident is stressful enough without having to deal with insurance company negotiations while trying to get your life back to normal. An experienced California car accident lawyer will be able to guide you through the process and give you the best chance at getting the relief you deserve.

If you were hurt in an auto accident, please call (707) 302-6088 or send us a message online for a free consultation today.

What Kind of Compensation Can I Get from a Car Accident?

If you are in a car accident in California and you sustain damages to yourself or your property, you may receive compensation for both personal and property damage.

Personal Damage

Personal damage consists of all bodily injuries. Injuries can range from bumps and bruises to permanent disability and death.

Relief for personal damage may include medical expenses, physical therapy or rehabilitation, and lost wages if you are unable to work.

When injuries are severe, it is not enough to just have your bills paid. Those are bills you would not have had if you had not been in a car accident.

The associated pain and stress is also something you would not have had. So you may also be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering.

Property Damage

Compensation for property damage can cover vehicle repairs or the cost of the vehicle if it is a complete loss.

You may have also had valuable items in the vehicle such as laptops, glasses, or other breakable items. It would be unfair for you to have to cover the replacement costs of these items.

How Much Do Car Accident Lawyers Charge in California?

Your best bet to get the maximum amount of compensation for your car accident is to hire a professional personal injury attorney. If cost is a concern, you may be asking, How much do car accident lawyers charge in California?

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Lawyers can have several types of fee arrangements. In general, the most common fee arrangements are a flat fee for services, an hourly rate, or a contingency fee.

One of the more common ways that car accident lawyers in particular charge is through a contingency fee arrangement.

Car Accident Attorney Fees

A car accident lawyer typically charges on a contingency fee basis, ranging from 33% to 40% of the total settlement amount obtained for the client. This means the lawyer’s fee is contingent upon winning the case and securing a settlement for the victim.

If your case is unsuccessful,  your attorney will not collect a fee.  

A contingency fee is set as a percentage of your recovery. For example, if the contingency fee agreement with your attorney is for 40% of your recovery and you are awarded $100,000 in damages, your attorney’s fee will be $40,000. 

California car accident attorneys may have different fee arrangements depending on the firm and type of case.

Benefits of Contingency Fee Agreements

In a contingency fee arrangement, you do not pay hourly fees or have to worry about making payments while your case is being litigated.

Payment for legal services is issued as a percentage of the money awarded after the case is closed. If the case is settled out of court, the contingency fees and other expenses will be paid out of the settlement.

If the case goes to trial and the jury awards you money, the legal fees will come out of the jury award.

Either way, you do not have to pay any money out-of-pocket.

Determining Contingency Fees

A contingency fee is based on a number of factors relating to the nature of your car accident case. Each accident is unique. When determining the answer to the question, How much do car accident lawyers charge for contingency?

Some factors that can affect an accident attorney’s fees include:

  • The nature and severity of your injuries;
  • The novelty and complexity of your particular case;
  • Whether you settle out of court or go to trial;
  • How much experience your attorney has;
  • The probability of success;
  • Whether you are filing a lawsuit in your case; and
  • Your unique needs as a client.

No two car accidents are exactly the same and neither is the strategy to get you the relief you need. An attorney-client relationship is not established until contingency fees are agreed upon by both you and your attorney.

How Do Car Accident Lawyer Fees Work? 

How much do car accident lawyers cost? Remember that this question has to be answered in the context of how the attorney gets paid, which in car accident cases is usually on a contingency fee basis.

This means that your attorney does not collect their fees until after you receive your damages award or settlement. In other words, your lawyers don’t get paid unless you get paid. A car accident lawyer could put hundreds of hours into your case, but they will not see anything until after you win. 

Because most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, they will usually front any court fees, filing fees, and other expenses for you. Once you win your matter, the lawyer will be reimbursed out of the damages award or settlement amount. 

Contingency fee agreements give those who may not otherwise have the opportunity to afford legal representation the ability to obtain an attorney. They also align the client’s goal of receiving the largest amount of compensation possible with the attorney’s goal of getting paid. 

What Percentage Do Most Injury Lawyers Take in California? 

Every lawyer’s contingency fee agreement will be different, and the amount they take may vary depending on your case type. However, most car accident attorneys, including hit and run lawyers, cost between 30–40% of your damages award or settlement amount in California.

While the exact percentage may differ depending on the California car accident attorney, you should expect it to be somewhere in this range with a reputable firm. 

Some lawyers will propose a sliding-scale contingency fee agreement, and it is something that you may be able to propose if your lawyer does not offer it initially. These types of agreements designate certain percentages for the attorney based on factors such as: 

  • How fast the case is resolved,
  • How much compensation is awarded, and
  • The client’s ability to pay for the lawyer’s services. 

However, it is important to note that every attorney has their own approach to contingency fee arrangements and sliding-scale contingency agreements. 

A ‘no win, no fee‘ car accident claim operates under an agreement where your legal representative covers the expenses of your case. In this arrangement, your lawyer typically initiates an insurance policy on your behalf before pursuing the claim. This policy serves to handle various expenses incurred during the compensation process, encompassing legal fees, court costs, medical reports, and related expenditures.

What Other Legal Fees Should I Be Aware Of?

Car accident attorney fees are not the only costs associated with the legal system. This is especially true if your case goes to trial.

 In addition to the attorney fee for their services, there may be some additional expenses that will be deducted from your recovery amount.

Your attorney will be able to provide you with an estimate of costs, and upon conclusion of your case you will receive a detailed statement of expenses.

You may incur some of the following expenses:

  • Court filing fee,
  • Fees charged by medical facilities for medical records;
  • Expert fees,
  • Postage fees,
  • Deposition costs,
  • Administrative expenses, and
  • Investigative costs.

Some attorneys may charge you out of pocket for these costs as they arise. We understand that this can add stress to an already stressful situation.

At Wells Call Injury Lawyers, we will advance any court cost incurred before your case is complete.

This allows you to focus on healing from your car accident and allows us to move forward on your case without complication.

Do I Still Have to Pay Car Accident Lawyers Fees If I Lose?

If you have a contingency payment agreement, then you will not have to pay attorney fees if you lose the case.

In some instances, you may be required to pay costs such as postage fees, process server fees, or other administrative costs. However, most attorneys won’t charge you for those costs.

A contingency fee agreement can be particularly helpful to an individual who would not normally be able to afford an attorney’s services. 

Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident That Was Not My Fault?

Yes. If you have been in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you should speak with a lawyer.

Depending on the nature of your injuries and the extent of damage to your vehicle, you may be entitled to a monetary recovery. 

How to Choose a California Car Accident Lawyer

Determining how much a car accident lawyer charges is only one of many things that you should consider before you hire a car accident lawyer.

Experience, compassion, and reputation matter. We want you to get the best settlement possible, so you can get back to living your life.

At Wells Call Injury Lawyers, we have nearly 40 years of personal injury law experience and understand the nuances and complications that could arise with your car accident case.

If you live in California and have been in a car accident, do not hesitate to speak with an attorney simply because you are afraid you may not be able to pay. 

At Wells Call Injury Lawyers we truly care about our clients and obtaining the best outcome on their behalf.

We work on contingency, charge no out-of-pocket fees, and do not get paid until you do. Don’t settle for less than you deserve.

Contact us online or call (707) 302-6088 today for your free consultation and case evaluation.

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