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How Much Will I Have to Pay Chicago Car Accident Lawyers?



The perils of heavy city traffic keep Chicago car accident lawyers quite busy. If you were unfortunate enough to have been injured in a Chicago auto accident and the other driver was at fault, you may need to hire one of these attorneys for yourself. Whether you live in the city itself or in suburbs ranging from Evanston to Hyde Park, you’ll have your choice of many lawyers who can work on your behalf.

How Much Do Chicago Car Accident Attorneys Cost?

The cost is a major concern for most people when deciding to hire a lawyer. It’s somewhat less of an issue when you need to find a Chicago traffic accident lawyer, because this situation requires a personal injury lawyer. Personal injury lawyers usually accept cases on what’s called a contingency fee basis. This means that instead of taking any money from you up front, the attorney receives his pay as a portion of any money you receive as a settlement or from a trial judgment.

Before you hire a personal injury lawyer who follows this fee structure, be sure to find out what percentage he takes as his payment. Also ask if that percentage is based on the net or gross award (that is, before or after expenses have been deducted).

Personal injury lawyers also may work on an hourly fee structure, but this is less typical than the contingency fee structure. Usually, if you have a strong personal injury case, the lawyer will gladly work for a percentage of the award.

When a lawyer works at an hourly rate, you are responsible for paying a fee, regardless of whether you end up collecting any money from your case. This does not necessarily mean, though, that you’ll end up paying more than you would in contingency fees. Be sure to ask all of the Chicago car accident attorneys you consider whether their clients pay on an hourly or a contingency basis, so you understand what you’ll be paying and when.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Contingency Fees

The drawbacks of paying an hourly rate are obvious—you have to pay while the case is in progress, and you pay regardless of whether you receive a monetary award. In comparison, it may seem like paying a Chicago traffic accident lawyer on a contingency basis is a perfect situation. To be sure, the contingency fee structure has many benefits:

  • Perhaps most important, you pay no money to the lawyer unless you receive money from the case
  • Because your money isn’t tied up while your case is in progress, you can pay any other bills, such as medical expenses, associated with your Chicago auto accident
  • You can feel good about your personal injury case because a lawyer wouldn’t take it if he didn’t expect a payout at the end

The only drawback to hiring a lawyer who works on a contingency fee is that if your case resolves quickly, he may get what seems like a lot of money for a little work. You may feel, however, that this negative is outweighed by all the positives of this fee structure.

Beyond Fees: Chicago Car Accident Lawyers’ Additional Expenses

No matter if the Chicago traffic accident lawyer you ultimately select operates under a contingency fee or an hourly rate structure, you will have to pay expenses. These include copying and other office costs, court fees and research fees. Lawyers who are paid on a contingency fee basis usually deduct these from the settlement or judgment you receive. This means you won’t be paying them out of pocket while the case is in progress. Lawyers who are paid hourly usually will include these fees in your regular bill.

Make sure that any attorney you consider spells out exactly which expenses you’re responsible for, gives you an estimate of what those costs will be and explains when you’ll be expected to pay for them.