What Does it Cost to Retain a Car Accident Lawyer in South Carolina?
Car Accident Lawyer Fees Overview
Many people think that paying for an attorney and obtaining justice simply is not an option for them unless they have a lot of money in the bank. However, this is not always the case.
In South Carolina, car accident lawyer fees are typically based on a contingency arrangement rather than hourly fees.
If you have not heard the term before, a contingency fee means that you only have to pay the attorney if and when you obtain compensation. That means that you pay nothing unless and until you receive money from your legal claim.
Since there is nothing to lose and everything to gain, the wise move is to contact a skilled South Carolina car accident attorney as soon after your accident as possible.
The Basics of Attorney’s Fees
In general, there are a few different financial arrangements that lawyers offer their clients.
These arrangements are:
- Hourly billing,
- Fixed pricing, and
- Contingency fees.
Let’s explore these concepts in more detail.
Hourly fees are fairly self-explanatory. Attorneys simply bill their clients a set price per hour of work for legal services.
Then, every action the attorney takes for the client, like making a phone call, reviewing a brief, or negotiating with another party, is recorded and tallied. The attorney multiplies the total hours of work for the client by their hourly rate. The client then pays the attorney on a regular basis, usually every two to eight weeks.
Each attorney has the freedom to select their own hourly rate. However, the fee must be reasonable. Naturally, the hourly rate is higher for more experienced or more prestigious attorneys.
The hourly rate can also vary between different areas of law. According to one source, the average attorney hourly rate in South Carolina is between $156 and $353 an hour.
Fixed pricing is also referred to as operating on a flat fee. A flat fee is when the client pays the attorney a certain, set amount of money that covers all of the attorney’s work until the matter is resolved.
This flat fee amount can be paid all at once or in increments. But if your attorney allows you to pay the flat fee in increments, they will likely not begin work until they receive a partial payment called a retainer.
Attorneys use retainers in conjunction with flat fees and hourly fee arrangements. In flat-fee arrangements, you could look at a retainer as a “down payment” of sorts. Clients also pay a retainer as a pre-paid fund from which the attorney draws to pay for ongoing work.
As with hourly fees, there are many retainers and flat-fee arrangements. Ultimately, the client and the attorney agree to terms that are acceptable to both parties.
Last but not least, there are contingency fees. This system of attorney compensation is very different from those mentioned earlier. Unlike hourly or flat fees that a client pays out of their own pockets, a contingency fee is only paid if and when the client receives some kind of compensation.
When the client first hires the attorney, they agree that the attorney will receive a particular percentage of the client’s compensation. Later, if the attorney wins the client’s case or obtains a settlement, the attorney takes their fees from that sum of money. Usually, the attorney receives between 25% and 40% of the client’s final compensation.
Let’s use an example. Say that you hire an attorney on a contingency fee basis. You and the attorney agree that they will receive 33% of whatever money they win on your behalf. Your case then goes to trial, and you receive $150,000 in compensation. Based on your agreement, $49,500 (i.e., 33%) would go to your attorney.
Contingency fees are a great way for people that do not have much cash on hand to obtain legal representation. They also incentivize the attorney to work diligently for the client to win the case.
Want to Learn More About The Cost of a Car Accident Lawyer in South Carolina?
Car accidents are life-changing events. If you have been in a car accident, you don’t have to worry about contacting an attorney because you think money will be a problem. Nor should you simply ask yourself, What does it really cost to retain a car accident lawyer in South Carolina? Instead, take action today and get the answers you need.
At the Peace Law Firm, we don’t want any car accident victims to go without representation. We want everyone to have the same opportunity to get justice in their case.
For that reason, we work on a contingency fee basis—so we won’t get paid unless you do. We’ve recovered millions of dollars for our clients, so don’t miss your opportunity to receive the compensation you deserve.