After being in an accident, the last thing you want to do is face a court case, but often you’ll need to, especially if you’ve been injured. Once you’ve found a great lawyer, you may be wondering how you’ll pay for your legal fees. Understanding what fees can be covered will relieve stress and help you manage your expectations as you work through your lawsuit.
Your Insurance Company
In some cases, your insurance company may pay for at least some of your legal fees. However, your legal fees will most likely only be covered if you are the one being sued. Auto insurance will pay for legal fees through your bodily injury liability and property injury liability coverage. It is a good idea to pay for this insurance just in case you find yourself at fault in an accident in the future. If you are the one filing the suit, your insurance won’t cover legal fees, but you still have a good chance of getting fees covered if you win your suit.
Through the Settlement
Because hiring an attorney can be expensive, it can be intimidating to pursue legal action after an accident. However, attorneys generally only charge you for your suit if you are successful in your suit. This way of paying your attorney, called a contingency fee, prevents you from needing to pay any portion up front. It also allows for your settlement to cover your attorney fees.
If you win your case, then you are responsible for paying your attorney from your settlement. Attorney fees hover in the range of 30 to 40 percent of the settlement award. Occasionally you may also have your legal fees covered through negotiation as part of the court proceedings. Alternatively, the judge may decide it makes sense in your particular case to require the at fault party to pay your legal fees. However, these instances are fairly rare, so it is important to plan on paying your lawyer the appropriate percentage from the settlement award. Generally, knowing this in advance, you and your lawyer would work for a settlement that would meet your needs after they receive their percentage.
Costs to Pay Before Receiving Your Settlement
Make sure to read your agreement carefully so you understand exactly what you owe your attorney and how the money will be distributed after the settlement. If you have questions about the agreement, it is essential that you ask them before signing. It’s important to know where your settlement will go once you receive it.
After paying your lawyer, the next step is for your lawyer to use the settlement to pay off any medical liens you may have incurred. They are legally obligated to pay medical liens before providing you with any of the settlement money. This ensures that your doctors are paid appropriately from the settlement you receive.
Understanding the Process
Now that you know how you will pay for your lawsuit after an accident, it can be helpful to have an idea how the process works. You’ll start by meeting your attorney, looking over the agreement and deciding if that attorney is right for you. If it doesn’t seem like a good fit, look around and find an attorney that is better suited to your needs. There are many great attorneys available, and it’s important to find one that you feel confident will help you win your case.
Once you’ve hired an attorney, they will get all the information they need to create a strong case on your behalf. They will likely work with the insurance company of the at fault party to try to settle the case out of the courtroom. If they are unable to reach a settlement, the case will go to court. There, your case will either go to trial or be mediated to reach an agreement.
Understanding how to pay your legal costs after an accident can help make a stressful time a little better. Whether you are being sued as an at fault driver or suing after you were injured by another, it’s important to understand how you’ll get things covered financially. With this knowledge in hand, you are ready to confidently face your upcoming suit.
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