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What Do New York City Car Accident Lawyers Charge?

If you’ve been injured a New York City auto accident that wasn't your fault, you may be thinking about taking legal action. But if you've never before worked with New York City car accident lawyers, you may be interested in knowing how your attorney will be paid. There are several possible arrangements between an attorney and client, and each has advantages and disadvantages.

New York City Car Accident Lawyers & Contingency Fees

Most often, a New York City traffic accident lawyer will be paid on contingency. Contingency means that the attorney gets paid only if your claim succeeds. If you receive money in either a settlement or by winning your case, your attorney gets a percentage.

You may be able to negotiate the fee with the attorney, but you must agree on the exact percentage before your case starts.

If the fee is based on the gross award, the attorney takes his payment before expenses are paid. The client pays costs and expenses—travel expenses, document fees, and court costs, for example—separately.

A contingency fee on the net judgment is calculated after expenses are paid from the total amount.

Contingency fee arrangements provide benefits to both New York City car accident lawyers and their clients. They encourage the attorney to succeed and require no up-front payment from the client.

However, if the case ends quickly and successfully, the lawyer will receive a large paycheck for a small amount of effort, which may seem unfair. This arrangement also encourages attorneys to only accept “winning” cases, and may leave some clients without a legal answer.

Hourly Payments in New York Auto Accident Cases

Like many employees, a New York City traffic accident lawyer using this arrangement gets paid for every hour of work. Regardless of whether the case is won or lost, the client must pay the attorney for his time and expenses. Often, the client also pays a retainer fee, or deposit, at the start of the case.

Hourly rates vary. Rates in Manhattan may be higher than those in Queens, and an attorney with years of experience may charge more than a newer lawyer.

Although some attorneys will take New York auto accident cases on an hourly basis, there are problems that make it uncommon. If the case takes a long time to settle, it can be very expensive for the client, and attorneys typically make more working on contingency. Think carefully if an attorney will only take a car accident case on an hourly basis because the attorney may think the case has a low chance of success.

Flat Fee Arrangements & the New York City Traffic Accident Lawyer

Flat-fee arrangements are best used for quick and routine legal matters. The client pays a single amount (plus expenses), and the attorney completes the work.

Virtually all car accident cases are complex and long, so the flat fee rarely appeals to attorneys or clients. The fee would be excessive to the client, and the attorney may be underpaid if the case takes too long to finish.

Deciding on a Fee Arrangement

Be sure that you understand the fee arrangement before you hire a New York City traffic accident lawyer. For contingency agreements, know the percentage and the terms of payment. For hourly work, agree to the price and get an estimate. Ask as many additional questions as you need. When you know exactly how you will pay, you will be ready to make an informed choice of attorneys.