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How Do Lawyers Work on Contingency?

Some car accident victims believe they cannot afford a lawyer and choose to represent themselves. Here is why that can end up costing in the long run.


When you are injured in a car accident, you are generally entitled to both non economic and economic damages. The objective of the court system in personal injury car accident law is to compensate the driver so that the driver can be on the same level they were before they were injured – physically, emotionally, and financially. This is why you can collect for things like pain and suffering and emotional distress. You are also entitled to things like medical costs and any wages that you have lost due to being injured in the accident.

Many car accident cases never see the inside of the courtroom. The vast majority of them are settled outside of court during the negotiation phase. It is a point during the car accident proceedings where the insurance company of the at-fault party offers the injured party a settlement that is meant to make them “whole” again.

Although it is typically beneficial for parties to reach an agreement without having to escalate it into a court case, there are times when two parties cannot reach a fair agreement and things proceed to a court trial.

Can You Handle Your Settlement on Your Own?

When you are contacted by the insurance company, it might seem appealing just to settle the case without the hassle of dragging it out to court. If you don’t know what you are entitled to, however, there is no way to know if you are getting adequately compensated.

The problem with not having representation is that the insurance company is a business like any other. Their job is to minimize their costs by compensating the least amount possible. So, if you don’t know how to negotiate, that can leave you with substantially less. If you don’t know how to calculate both economic and non economic damages, then you are at the mercy of the insurance company to offer you a fair price. Having a lawyer eliminates that problem.

What If You Can’t Afford a Car Accident Attorney?

If you choose not to be represented by a car accident attorney, you might be doing yourself a huge disservice. If you make the choice to represent yourself because you believe you don’t have the means to pay a lawyer, you might not need to go it alone.

Car accident attorneys generally work on something called a contingency basis. That means that they don’t charge you upfront. They don’t collect any money for your case unless they can win a settlement.

Once a settlement is reached or the case is played out in court, your lawyer will take a percentage of your compensation. If you don’t hire an attorney, you are almost guaranteed to receive much less compensation than you would with a lawyer on your side. Giving your lawyer a percentage of what you walk away with is still likely to put you on top.

For a FREE case evaluation 24/7 call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242.

Updated: June 4, 2018