Can You Get Free Lawyer Advice in a Car Accident Case?
When you’ve been injured in an accident, your first concern is making sure all your medical needs are addressed. Then, you and your family will wonder whether you should talk with a lawyer about the accident. If your injuries are serious, you should not hesitate to discuss your case with a lawyer. In many cases, you can get free lawyer advice in a car accident case before you decide how to proceed. In this article, trusted Virginia Beach car accident attorney Jeff Brooke explains what you need to know about how lawyers charge in personal injury cases for initial consultations and to represent you in your case.
Do I Have to Pay to Talk With a Virginia Personal Injury Attorney?
If you've been injured in an accident, you probably will not have to pay a fee when you have your first meeting with a personal injury attorney. In Virginia, as in most states, many car accident attorneys do not charge for your initial consultation. In some cases, you may need to provide preliminary information in a phone call. In other cases, you can simply schedule an appointment.
In your first consultation, you will explain to the lawyer what happened in your accident and provide any documents and evidence that you have, like medical bills, the accident report, and car repair bills. The attorney will discuss the accident with you, explain the laws that apply, and give you a preliminary assessment of what your options are for proceeding. Also at the initial consultation, if the attorney offers to represent you, he or she will explain how fees, costs, and expenses are charged and paid in an accident case.
When you are looking for an attorney for your accident case, you want to make sure you find a lawyer who has the necessary experience and inspires your confidence and trust. You also should take into account the lawyer's fee arrangement when you make your decision. There can be significant differences in the fee arrangements offered by individual lawyers.
You may wish to talk with more than one attorney before you choose one to represent you. Because you can get free lawyer advice in a car accident case in your initial consultation with a lawyer, you should feel free to meet with several different attorneys before you make your final decision. The situation is not unlike consulting with more than one doctor when you are looking for help with a serious medical matter.
How Do Lawyers Charge for Car Accident Cases?
For many types of work, lawyers charge hourly fees. That is not how most attorneys charge when you’ve been seriously injured in an accident. In personal injury cases, lawyers usually charge on a contingent fee basis. That means the lawyer gets paid if — and only if — he or she negotiates a settlement or wins a verdict for you in a trial.
There are, however, significant differences in how individual attorneys charge contingent fees. Generally, the fee is a percentage of the settlement or verdict. Depending on the lawyer, the percentage can range from 25 percent to 40 percent. In some cases, the fee agreement may specify that different percentages apply depending on whether a settlement is negotiated or a trial is necessary.
When you discuss the fee arrangement with a lawyer, the question of who pays costs and expenses during a case is also very important. Individual lawyers differ significantly in how they charge for costs and expenses in a personal injury case.
Some lawyers will require you to pay the fees and costs as the case progresses. If you don’t pay them, the case likely will not move along. However, many personal injury attorneys will advance the costs and fees for you. Then, when a case settles or a verdict is won, the costs and fees are deducted from the award before the contingent fee is paid to the lawyer and before you receive your share of the settlement or judgment.
Understanding the details of a lawyer’s fee is a critical consideration in deciding which lawyer you want to represent you. Fee arrangements differ greatly from lawyer to lawyer, even for the same case. Make sure you understand all the details about a lawyer’s fees and about who pays the costs and expenses before you make your final decision and sign a fee agreement with a specific lawyer.
How Can I Get Free Lawyer Advice in a Car Accident Case?
Many lawyers advertise free consultations in car accident cases. The internet is a valuable resource for finding lawyers near you or near the location of an accident. You can get recommendations from relatives and friends and follow up by researching those suggestions online. You can also begin with online research, if you don't have recommendations from others. Lawyers’ websites have details about the experience of individual lawyers and other information relevant to your decision on which lawyer to hire for your case.
Often, personal injury lawyers who do not actively advertise free advice or consultations will not charge for the first meeting, based on information gathered through a preliminary inquiry by phone. If you’re interested in a specific lawyer who does not advertise free consultations, you should not hesitate to call his or her office, explain your situation, and inquire whether the lawyer is willing to discuss your case with you without a charge.
Talk With a Virginia Beach Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one suffered catastrophic injuries in a Virginia accident that was another person’s fault — or if you’ve lost a loved one in an accident — it’s always in your best interest to talk with a personal injury attorney before you talk with the at-fault person’s insurance company. Experienced Virginia Beach car accident lawyer Jeff Brooke is dedicated to helping clients and their families recover the compensation they deserve. Contact us by phone at (757) 785-0837 or by using our online contact form.
Jeff Brooke is a personal injury attorney devoted to helping individuals who have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligent and careless actions. The Jeff Brooke Team serves all of southeastern Virginia. The firm helps clients in the Greater Tidewater and Greater Hampton Roads areas, including in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Chesterfield. The Jeff Brooke Team also handles cases in northeastern North Carolina, including the Outer Banks.