When our clients first come to the office, they seem surprised that we don’t charge them anything upfront to retain our services. The way accident attorneys in Athens handle these cases is rather simple. We do not demand any payment upfront. However, once your case settles, we will be paid our contingency fee. When you first agree to hire us, you will be asked to sign a contingency fee agreement.
This agreement will outline how much your Athens car accident lawyer will be paid when your case is finally resolved. While our clients understand how this agreement works, they seem a bit fuzzy about how their settlement proceeds will be paid out. This is why we believe it’s important to discuss this here.
In this article, we will break down the steps that take place once your Athens car accident lawyer negotiates a settlement of your case. We will also explain what you can expect to receive when all is said and done. If you still have questions about your own car accident lawsuit, give us a call. We can schedule your free, initial consultation right over the phone.
Once You Agree to an Amount, You Will Have to Sign a Settlement Release
Most people don’t realize that very few car accident lawsuits go to trial. In fact, more than 90-95% of these cases settle long before they go to trial. Your accident attorney in Athens will start negotiating a settlement of your case from the very start. When they send their demand letter to the defendant and their insurance carrier, they will invite the opportunity to negotiate a settlement.
Once a settlement is finally reached, you will be required to sign something called a “Settlement Release.” This is a document that states that you understand you will not be able to pursue the defendant for any further monies once you agree to the settlement. For example, imagine that you sue the other driver for $200,000.
Your Athens car accident lawyer has managed to negotiate a settlement for $140,000. Once you agree to this settlement, you cannot come back six months or a year later and ask for more money. Once this release is signed, the insurance company will send your lawyer a check for the agreed-upon amount.
It Will Take Some Time for the Insurance Company to Send Your Check
It can be a bit frustrating waiting for the insurance company to issue your check. By the time the right parties sign off on the settlement, it can be several weeks. Typically, your accident attorney in Athens will include a deadline in your settlement release. The defendant (or their insurance company) must pay the settlement by this date. If they fail to do so, you can reopen the case and pursue them for full damages once again.
The check will be sent directly to your attorney. They will then use the settlement proceeds to pay off any outstanding liens or bills. They will also deduct their contingency fee along with any monies the firm expended on your case, Whatever is left will be yours.
Once the Check is Received, Your Accident Attorney in Athens Will Deduct Their Fee
When it comes time to distribute your settlement proceeds, you will be reminded once more that your Athens car accident lawyer is entitled to a percentage of your settlement proceeds. This amount will range anywhere from 33-40%. It depends on what your contingency agreement says.
Your attorney takes their cut before anything else is paid. The firm will also be reimbursed before any outside creditors are paid. Once this is done, the remaining bills must be paid. This could include any of the following:
- Outstanding medical bills
- Mechanic’s bills
- Monies paid by your primary health insurance carrier
- Any fees owed to expert witnesses, etc.
Of course, there are other things that may need to be paid. Since each case is different, it would be impossible to list them all here.
Your Athens Car Accident Lawyer Must Pay Off All Liens and Outstanding Bills
Depending on the type of insurance coverage you have, you may have to pay off liens as well. Anybody who has Medicare or Medicaid will not only have to pay back any monies spent on your case. But the State will have filed a lien against your lawsuit. This way, you can’t walk away with the settlement proceeds and not pay your bills.
Usually, if the insurance carrier has to place a lien against your lawsuit, they will demand that payment in full be made. However, your accident attorney in Athens may be able to negotiate a reduced payment.
Your Accident Attorney in Athens Will Then Issue You a Check for the Remainder
It may seem like there won’t be a lot of money left after everyone is paid. This may very well be the case. Our accident attorneys in Athens always remind our clients that our job is not to make them rich. It is our job to make them whole. Nobody should ever expect to walk away from their car accident lawsuit with a ton of money.
At best, you can expect to receive compensation for your lost wages, property damages, and perhaps your lost future income. Even some of the money received for pain and suffering damages may have to be used to pay off your creditors. When all is said and done, you will have peace of mind in knowing that there are no outstanding bills related to your car accident.
In order to get started on settling your case, you should call one of our Athens car accident lawyers. We offer all new clients a free, initial consultation. This gives you a chance to sit down with an experienced accident attorney in Athens.
They can answer most of your questions and give you an idea of what your case is worth. You can well imagine that the defendant will have a team of lawyers working for them. You don’t want to be at a disadvantage by trying to handle things all on your own.
Call today and we will set a date and time for you to come into the office. If you prefer, you can always schedule your first appointment through our website.