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How Much Do Pittsburgh Car Accidents Lawyers Charge?

Pittsburgh car accidents can be terrifying, life-changing events. If you have been the victim of a motor vehicle accident, you may have ongoing pain and other medical conditions, expensive medical bills, and you may even have to take unpaid time off work because of your injuries. If you have been in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be thinking about hiring a lawyer, but you may not know whether you have a strong case or if a lawsuit will be worthwhile. This article will help you understand how Pittsburgh car accident lawyers bill for their time.

How Lawyers Charge for Cases Involving Pittsburgh Car Accidents

If you talk to different lawyers about your situation, you may hear about several different billing methods. When meeting with a lawyer, it’s important to understand the different kinds of billing methods and the pros and cons of each one.

With an hourly rate, an attorney will charge you for the actual amount of time he spends on your auto accident case. Hourly rates can range quite a bit, based on a lot of different things. A lawyer who graduated from a top law school and has spent decades helping clients with their personal injury cases in Pennsylvania will charge more than one who just graduated from a lesser school.

Attorneys who are very well known for helping victims of Pittsburgh car accidents may charge more. Location can also make a difference—a lawyer with a big office in the Golden Triangle will charge more than one with a modest office in New Castle.

You may also talk to attorneys who charge a flat fee for handling you case. With a flat fee, you and the attorney agree to a price up front. You may still be charged for extras, such as court costs, so be sure to ask about this. Understand that flat fees are relatively uncommon in personal injury cases.

For those involved in Pittsburgh auto accidents, a lawyer may accept your case on a contingency fee basis. With contingency fee payments, you do not have to pay your lawyer anything when he takes your case. Instead, he will only take a fee if you receive a settlement or award for the accident. That fee will be a percentage of the money you receive.

Pros and Cons of Different Billing Types

Each type of payment method has its pros and cons.

With an hourly rate, the results won’t matter when it comes to your final bill. Regardless of whether you win or lose, you will need to pay your lawyer for the actual time he works on your Pittsburgh car accident case. And the longer the case drags on, the more you will have to pay. You may need to decide beforehand just how much you can afford to pay the attorney, then cut him off and end the case when your budget is spent. On the plus side, your lawyer will also earn every penny and won’t have an incentive to settle quickly in order to get his paycheck.

With a flat fee arrangement, you may have to pay the entire amount when you hire the attorney, which could be a financial issue if you are also struggling with medical bills. If you decide to switch lawyers, the fee may not be refundable—so be sure to ask before you hire him. If a lawyer will only accept your case on a flat fee basis, he may feel that your case isn’t very strong. So be sure to ask about this.

On the other hand, if your lawyer takes a case on a contingent fee basis, this could free up your funds as you try to recover from your Pittsburgh car accident. And since your lawyer is gambling his own time and money with your case, he probably feels as if you have a strong case. Contingency fees are the most common fee arrangement in personal injury cases. If you're unable to find a lawyer who will take your case on contingency, it may be a sign that your case is weak or not worth much money.

Questions to Ask Pittsburgh Car Accident Lawyers

When you meet with a Pittsburgh auto accident lawyer, it’s important to understand exactly how he bills. Be sure to ask what type of fee he charges, how much that fee is and what is extra. Payment methods and terms can vary, so specifically ask how and when he expects to be paid. If your attorney wants to work on a contingency basis, ask for some examples of successful Pittsburgh car accident cases he has overseen.

When you understand what attorneys charge, you can decide on the best way to pursue damages for your car accident.