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How to Negotiate Accident Attorney Fees
Most people do not realize that they can negotiate their auto injury lawyer fees.
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means that the accident lawyer will get paid only if you get an insurance claim settlement. The contingency fee is typically a percentage (on average one third) of your final insurance settlement.
However, there is no law that states that you have to agree to pay this amount. The one third contingency fee is just the average amount a personal injury lawyer charges. Some personal injury lawyers charge as high as a 40% contingency fee.
Auto injury lawyers charge a certain rate because other lawyers in their region charge similar rates. The lawyer even tells you this because they want to deter you from shopping around and reducing their payments.
However, you can still negotiate to lower your personal injury lawyer fees.
First, you must understand that almost anything is negotiable, especially when it comes to lawyers. The entire law profession is based on negotiating. So if a car injury lawyer tells you that their fees are not negotiable, don’t assume this is written in stone.
Auto Injury Lawyers Need You
Most car injury lawyers want your business. They want to take your personal injury settlement case. Why? Because most personal injury settlement cases, ones with serious injuries anyway, have the potential for a big settlement check. This is why an injury lawyer is willing to work on a contingency basis.
This gives you the advantage since your case has the potential to bring the personal injury lawyer a large lump sum of cash.
In order to see how much bargaining power you have, you need to assess the likelihood of getting a high personal injury settlement. The best way to do this getting specific information regarding your insurance claim.
Most auto injury lawyers offer a free initial consultation. During this meeting, you should ask the following questions:
- What type of settlement should I expect?
- What are the chances of getting this settlement?
- How did you determine the value of my claim?
- How difficult is my case?
- How much time will it take?
After asking these questions, you will have a better idea of your odds of getting a high personal injury insurance settlement.
The higher your odds, the more likely that the auto injury lawyer will be willing to negotiate a lower contingency fee.
It’s Riskier to Not Work with You
Most auto injury lawyers try to justify their high contingency fees by saying they are taking on a huge risk by accepting your settlement case.
They assume they rightfully deserve to take a high percentage of your settlement, since they are investing their time and energy without any guarantee of being paid. Although this is technically true, the risk for a lawyer is not as high as it seems.
When an injury lawyer is reviewing your personal injury case, they are trying to minimize their risk. They want to work on your case if you have a high chance of getting a settlement. Otherwise they don’t get paid.
If an injury lawyer is willing to take your case, they must have determined it has a good chance of securing a high settlement. Does it make sense for an auto injury lawyer to take a case they don’t think they can win? Now that would be too risky.
If after your initial consultation, you know that you have a strong case, almost any lawyer will be happy to take your case. The car injury lawyer knows this. They know that they risk losing thousands of dollars by not adjusting their contingency fee. Once you realize this, you have the bargaining power. You can then reduce your contingency fee to something that is more acceptable to you.
Everything is negotiable. This includes any fee for an auto injury lawyer. However, since most people are who are looking for an accident attorney have suffered serious injuries, they are more focused on getting money from the insurance companies instead of saving money from their lawyers.
Most people are also not familiar with how lawyers work and are uncomfortable with negotiating accident settlements. They accept whatever the lawyer says as true and incontrovertible.
Don’t do this. You are in control since you are the one hiring the lawyer. If money is really tight right now, try to negotiate a lower contingency fee. Worst case scenario is that the lawyer refuses to lower their fees. Best case scenario, the lawyer reduces their fee and you save thousands of dollar. For you that’s a risk worth taking.
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