Like anywhere in the world, Bellingham drivers will see many fender benders in their lifetimes. Usually these are relatively minor and don’t require emergency medical care, thankfully. It’s usually not until they or a loved one has been in a serious accident occurs that someone will wonder about hiring a personal injury attorney. Accident victims may worry, “is it worth the cost?” even while medical bills start piling up and paychecks stop. Even though lawyers often don’t provide legal services for free, if you don’t hire an attorney, it could cost you more in the long run.
In general, lawyers bill at an hourly rate. The cost per hour will depend on things like their experience level and reputation. How many hours of their time they’ll spend on your case will depend on the complexity of your case. While some car crash cases can be worked out over the phone with the insurance adjusters, others will take entire legal teams representing each side. Most attorneys’ rates will cost hundreds of dollars per hour, and some of those rates include filing fees. When you decide to hire a lawyer, be sure to ask and understand their billing rates and fee agreement.
Personal injuries lawyers are unique in that many work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don’t pay anything up front, such as the hourly rates or other costs. Instead, your lawyer will be paid from a percentage of any amount awarded in the case. Usually that contingency percentage for car accident claims is around 1/3 of the total award.
It may be tempting to “save” your money and try to go it alone against the insurance company. Or, if offered, sometimes insurers will provide you with a lawyer or other advisers. But these generally are not the pathways to getting more money for your damages and injuries. In fact, a study by the IRC (Insurance Research Council) found that victims who had hired an attorney to represent them received settlements that averaged 40% higher than those who faced the insurance company alone.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, the best path to follow is to call a lawyer. I offer free consultations so it doesn’t cost a dime to talk about your case. You can reach me here, or if you’d like more information about my experience and reputation, check out my results page and testimonials.