If you are trying to find the best lawyer for a truck accident case, you will want to ask a lot of questions during the initial interviews. It is natural – and important – for potential clients to wonder about how much they will be charged for the services. The answers should be transparent and forthcoming (and in writing), so you can know what to expect. The following can give you a general idea about the fees, but the specifics depend on the law firm you are dealing with.
A personal injury lawyer’s fees can range from 25 to 40 percent of the settlement of the awarded, gross damages. If your suit settles for $100,000 and the attorney fee is 25 percent, you will end up with $75,000 in your pocket. The percentage does not always include attorney expenses, which could be deducted on top of that.
Keep in mind that initial consultations are often free and that most car wreck lawyers charge on a contingency basis, meaning you only have to pay that percentage if you are awarded money from a settlement or lawsuit. This kind of payment structure guarantees that you get legal representation, without having to pay anything upfront. Contingency fees can be better than hourly rates. With the latter, you still pay fees even if the case is not settled to your satisfaction or won in court. Even more importantly, when your lawyer wins you win, so contingency fees push them to prioritize your best interests.
There can be additional costs associated with a case that the attorney covers until the case is settled or closed. These expenses arise when they need to hire investigators and expert witnesses to help your case. Other costs might be related to court filing and court reporter fees and postage costs; law enforcement agencies and medical organizations also charge fees to provide records.
The way that expenses are handled depends on the law firm. Some might deduct the expenses before their fees, while some do it afterward. You can ask if the expenses will still be your responsibility if your case is not won. Along with the percentage, the expenses should be spelled out in the contingency agreement that you sign with your lawyer.
These fees might seem high at first but most of the time, it is hard to recover large amounts of compensation when you do not have a lawyer looking out for you. Many times, insurance companies will offer initial settlements that are not adequate to cover a claimant’s economic losses, lost time from work, or pain and suffering. Once an insurance agency learns that a claimant has legal representation, they might increase the offer based on that knowledge alone.
It can be especially hard for people to deal with insurance adjusters when they are recovering from injuries. An experienced truck accident lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and arrive at an acceptable settlement. This is how it works much of the time but if an agreement cannot be reached, your lawyer can represent you in court. It makes sense that court cases cost more since there are more fees (like hiring expert witnesses and court fees) and time involved, so settlements are more common.
Truck accidents tend to be more complex than other kinds of motor vehicle accidents because the injuries and property damage may be more extensive. The responsible party might not just be the truck driver. Truck ownership and liability have to be investigated since some truckers are owner-drivers while others work for large corporations.
Large, wealthy corporations employ their own defense lawyers who work to help their employers avoid paying out compensation in accidents. Truck crashes are also caused by defective parts, poor maintenance, bad weather, and unforeseen events like flying debris on the road. Sometimes, the accident scene needs to be recreated to clearly determine who was at fault. On top of all this, there are state and federal laws and regulations that apply to trucks and trucking companies. Someone who is not familiar with them will be at a disadvantage.
Georgia’s statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit related to a motor vehicle accident is two years after the accident, so it is important to start things in a timely manner. Once you choose an attorney, there will be a detailed investigation into the accident and insurance claim. Your lawyer will determine your losses and damages and let you know if the insurance company’s evaluation was fair.
If the offer is not satisfactory, your lawyer may file a claim that thoroughly describes your injuries, losses, and requested compensation. If a settlement is reached, you can expect to receive your damages and pay the contingency fee and expenses. Otherwise, your case may be taken to court and your attorney will present your case to a judge and jury, arguing why you should receive the requested amount.
Georgia has a comparative fault law that applies to motor vehicle personal injury accident cases. The court will hear the case and decide if the plaintiff’s negligence contributed to the crash. For example, if the plaintiff was texting and driving when the truck T-boned their vehicle, the texting will be considered. Unless liability is clear, the court may assign percentages of responsibility to the plaintiff and defendant. So if a judge states that you are 25 percent responsible, your damages will be reduced by that amount. If it is 50 percent or more, you will not receive compensation. This is another angle that your attorney will examine and consider carefully while taking care of your case.
Truck accidents can cause devastating injuries and property damage and you will want an experienced attorney to see you through the aftermath. A skilled Macon truck accident lawyer at Childers & McCain, LLC can fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Complete our online form or call us at 478-254-2007 to schedule a free consultation. Our Macon, Georgia offices serve clients in Macon, Savannah, Albany, Atlanta, and thorough the state.
Facing the aftermath of a serious accident can be overwhelming. Before you speak with the insurance companies, make sure you schedule a free consultation with the Macon personal injury lawyers at Childers & McCain. We can protect your rights while anticipating the insurance company’s tactics to make sure you get the full compensation you deserve. You don’t have to navigate this tough road alone – let our team of professionals help you move forward.