If you’ve been in a car accident, you’re probably reading this wondering how to get a lawyer in West Virginia to represent you. And more importantly, what does it cost?
It’s difficult to put an exact dollar amount on the question since every case is different. One case may net a huge settlement, while another case that looks similar may lose. Everything is in the details of the case.
Lawyers may employ a few different types of fee schedules. Before you agree to be represented by one, ask which one you’ll be agreeing to before you sign anything. A car accident is bad enough—you don’t need any more surprises! Make sure you understand how your lawyer will be paid at the outset of your case.
This is where you literally pay your lawyer (and/or the law office staff) for each hour they work on your car accident case. Known as “billable hours,” it’s the actual time spent working on your case. You will generally receive a statement, invoice or some other type of documentation indicating how much work has been done in your case.
If you agree to an hourly fee arrangement, you’ll also need to ask if you will be responsible for paying these invoices every month. Many lawyers do require it, but again, you must specifically ask.
If you’ve ever asked for an estimate on a home improvement project, or to have work done on your car, you’re familiar with this arrangement. You’ll be charged a specific amount of money to handle your case. Be aware that there may be additional charges such as court costs, filing fees, and costs to recover documentation from hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other places.
Are you going to be paying the fee upfront, and get billed for the extra charges? Will there be any additional fees taken out of your settlement? What happens if you lose your case?
Ask about these things, and what else might be required before you sign. If you agree to a flat fee arrangement, make sure you know what’s involved, and what you’ll be responsible for.
Contingency Fee Arrangement
Many lawyers who handle personal injury cases utilize this arrangement. The lawyer’s fee is a percentage on what you receive as a settlement, contingent upon winning the case. If the case is lost, you generally won’t owe a fee. Lawyers who take these types of arrangements will be choosy about which cases they pick, and they don’t generally take a case they don’t think they can win.
Modified Contingency Arrangement
This arrangement may be partly hourly or flat fee with part of the fees being contingent. Each attorney has his or her own way of doing it, so again, be sure to ask what happens if you settle, if you win, if you have to go to court, and if the case is lost.
Before You Sign
An agreement should have these elements:
· Retainer—if you’re required to pay a deposit or a monthly fee for their services, this should be spelled out.
· Hourly rate—rates you’ll be charged for any work done on your case, and by whom. It should also include when the invoice is due, and other associated terms.
· Contingency fee—if your attorney uses this arrangement, everything will be detailed here.
· Lawsuit related costs and fees—these are the out-of-pocket court fees and other associated charges that your lawyer will have to pay to work on your case. You may be required to pay these charges as they happen, or the lawyer may be reimbursed when your case settles. If you lose, you may be required to reimburse the lawyer for these charges.
· Responsibilities—this defines who is responsible for what, (including you), which attorney and/or staff member will be working on your case, and what happens if your case requires an appeal.
If there is something you don’t understand, ask your attorney or their representative to make sure you know what to expect, and what’s expected of you. If an attorney proposes something that’s unclear, or that you’re not comfortable with, you’re free to decline, as long as you haven’t signed anything.
Need An Accident Lawyer? We’re Ready To Help
Do you need a car accident lawyer, but aren’t sure what to expect? Call The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683 and schedule your appointment with one of our personal injury attorneys. We’ll discuss your case with you, explain your options and what to expect in a car accident injury settlement. We can offer you a free consultation, and a contingency fee arrangement to make it easier for you to afford a car accident lawyer. There’s no fee if we don’t win your case.