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March 5, 2024

How Much do Accident Lawyers Charge in California? (2024 Update)

Legally reviewed by: Jessica Anvar Stotz, JD, MBA

New Data Added on: 3/6/24

Short Answer: In 2024, California accident lawyers will typically charge from 33% to 40% of the settlement amount a client receives. If cases go to trial, they can charge as much as 50% in some cases.

How Much do Accident Attorneys Charge in California?

Type of Accident Contingency Fee Charged:
Car Accident Approximately: 33% – 40%
Motorcycle Accident Approximately: 33% – 40%
Commercial Vehicle Accident Approximately: 33% – 50%
Pedestrian Accident Approximately: 33% – 40%
Slip and Fall Accident Approximately: 33% – 40%
Dog Bite Accident Approximately: 33% – 40%

Accidents can be life-changing, with the potential for devastating injuries, property damage, and even fatalities. When individuals are involved in a accident, they may require legal representation to recover compensation for their losses.

The cost of hiring an accident lawyer can be a significant concern for many people immediately following an accident. In California, most accident lawyers fees are contingent upon the lawyer winning your case, while others may charge on an hourly basis.

It is important to understand how  accident lawyers charge in California to make informed decisions about legal representation. While contingency fees are common, the actual percentage charged may vary depending on the complexity of the case and the specific terms of the retainer agreement.

Before hiring legal help, make sure to clarify any additional fees and expenses associated with the case. In this article, we will discuss the typical fees and expenses associated with hiring an accident lawyer in California, as well as the factors that can influence how much accident lawyers charge, the average contingency fee percentages, and any additional expenses clients may incur during the legal process.

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Contingency Fees Explained

A contingency fee is a common payment arrangement in legal cases, including personal injury cases like car accidents. With this agreement, the lawyer doesn’t require any upfront fees or costs and only gets paid if they win the case and recover compensation for the client.

The fee is calculated as a percentage of the total settlement or verdict amount, typically ranging from 33% to 40%.

This payment structure benefits individuals who may not have the financial resources to hire a lawyer upfront and incentivizes the lawyer to work hard to win the case and recover compensation for the client since their payment is directly tied to the outcome of the case.

The percentage accident lawyers take may vary based on factors such as the complexity of the case, the lawyer’s experience, and the specific terms of the retainer agreement.

How Much Can Someone Sue for a Car Accident in California?

The amount that someone can sue for a car accident in California depends on the severity of the injuries, property damage, and available insurance coverage.

While California law requires drivers to have liability insurance with minimum coverage, it may not be enough to cover all damages in a serious car accident.

If damages exceed the at-fault driver’s policy limits, the injured party can sue for additional compensation. There is no specific limit on the amount of damages awarded in a personal injury lawsuit in California, but there are limits on non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.

If the at-fault driver is underinsured or uninsured, the injured party can file a claim under their own insurance policy such as their uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

To determine the appropriate legal course of action and evaluate damages, it is essential to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer. Ultimately, the amount someone can sue for in California will depend on the specific circumstances of the case and damages incurred.

How much is the average accident settlement in California?

It is difficult to determine an average car accident settlement amount in California as each case is unique and settlements can vary widely depending on the specific circumstances of the accident and the damages incurred.

What we do know, according to 2019 data from the Insurance Information Institute, is that the average auto liability claim for property damage is $3,638, while the average bodily injury claim is $15,270.

Note that these figures are based on available data and provide a general idea of the typical compensation awarded for these types of claims. However, it’s important to note that each car accident case is unique and settlement amounts can vary widely depending on the specific circumstances of the accident and the damages incurred.

Therefore, we recommend consulting with an experienced car accident lawyer to evaluate the damages and negotiate a fair settlement.

In California, car accident settlements are typically reached through negotiations between the parties involved, which may include insurance companies, lawyers, and the injured party.

Settlement amounts will depend on several factors, including the severity of the injuries, the extent of the property damage, and the insurance policy limits of the at-fault driver.

The damages that can be compensated in a car accident settlement include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.

In cases where the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits are insufficient to cover all the damages, the injured party may be able to sue for additional compensation in court.

Car Accident Evaluator Quiz

Not sure if you have a valid case, or not sure if you need to hire a car accident lawyer? Take our short quiz to determine the severity of your accident.

Will I get more settlement money with a car accident lawyer?

Hiring a car accident lawyer can potentially result in a higher settlement amount, as experienced lawyers can navigate the legal process, negotiate with insurance companies, and advocate for their clients’ best interests. Car accident lawyers have a thorough understanding of the legal system and the laws governing car accidents in California.

They can evaluate the damages incurred in the accident and determine the appropriate legal course of action. They also have experience negotiating with insurance companies and can advocate for their clients to receive fair compensation for their losses.

In many cases, insurance companies may offer lower settlement amounts to unrepresented individuals who are not familiar with the legal process or the full extent of their damages.

With the help of a car accident lawyer, however, individuals can negotiate for a higher settlement that fully compensates them for their losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.

How long after a settlement do I get paid in California?

The length of time it takes to receive payment after a settlement varies depending on the specific circumstances of the case. In California, once a settlement has been agreed upon between the parties involved, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is typically responsible for paying the settlement amount.

The insurance company will usually issue a check within a few weeks of the settlement agreement being reached. However, there may be some delay if there are additional negotiations or disputes over the settlement amount.

If the case proceeds to trial, the payment timeline may be longer as the court process can take several months or even years to complete. Additionally, if the case involves multiple parties or insurance companies, the payment timeline may be impacted by the coordination of payments between parties.

What are the benefits of hiring an injury lawyer?

Hiring an injury lawyer can provide a range of benefits for individuals who have been injured in an accident. Some of the key benefits of hiring an injury lawyer include:

  • Legal Expertise: Injury lawyers have a thorough understanding of the laws and regulations that govern personal injury cases, including car accidents, slip and fall accidents, and medical malpractice. They can provide legal advice and guidance throughout the legal process to ensure that their clients receive fair compensation for their injuries.
  • Advocacy: Injury lawyers serve as advocates for their clients, negotiating with insurance companies and other parties to ensure that their clients’ rights are protected. They can also represent their clients in court and provide strong legal arguments to help their clients receive the compensation they deserve.
  • Compensation: Injury lawyers can help their clients receive compensation for a wide range of damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses related to the injury. They can also help their clients pursue punitive damages in cases where the at-fault party acted with gross negligence or malice.
  • Peace of Mind: By hiring an injury lawyer, individuals can focus on their recovery while their lawyer handles the legal aspects of their case. This can provide peace of mind and reduce stress during a difficult time.
  • Contingency Fees: Many injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means that they only get paid if they win the case and recover compensation for their clients. This can make legal representation more affordable for individuals who may not have the financial resources to pay for car accident attorney fees.

Overall, hiring an injury lawyer can help individuals navigate the legal system, receive fair compensation for their injuries, and provide peace of mind during a difficult time.

In California, lawyer fees for car accident cases are often contingent upon winning, so there is often nothing to lose when working with a car accident attorney.

Should I Hire a Lawyer?

Deciding whether to hire a lawyer for a personal injury case requires careful consideration of the specific circumstances. In cases where injuries are severe, resulting in significant medical expenses and lost wages, hiring a lawyer is generally recommended.

A personal injury lawyer can evaluate the extent of damages and advocate for fair compensation, negotiating with insurance companies and other parties to ensure the best outcome.

Furthermore, if liability or the value of the claim is being disputed, hiring a lawyer can be especially beneficial. An experienced personal injury lawyer can gather evidence to support the claim, negotiate with the other party, and represent the injured party in court if necessary.

If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may need the assistance of a personal injury attorney who specializes in any of the following personal injury case types:

If you live in the Los Angeles area and have a question about your car accident case, LawLinq can help you. Our lawyer referral service can connect you with experienced and reputable car accident lawyers who can provide you with legal advice and representation.

We understand that being involved in a car accident can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, and our goal is to make the legal process as smooth and efficient as possible.

By using our lawyer referral service, you can be confident that you will be connected with a lawyer who has experience handling car accident cases like yours.

Our lawyers are pre-screened and meet strict qualifications to ensure that they have the necessary expertise and knowledge to handle your case. They can provide you with personalized legal advice, answer any questions you may have, and represent you in negotiations or in court if necessary.

Our service is completely free and there is no obligation to hire any lawyer we refer you to. Through a free consultation, a reputable attorney can review your case to discuss car accident attorney fees in detail and help you determine if pursuing compensation and justice through a personal injury claim is right for you.

If you have any concerns or questions about your situation, do not hesitate to reach out to LawLinq through our site or at (855) 997-2558 today.

About the Author

Jessica Anvar

California Consumer Litigation Attorney Jessica Anvar, Esq. is the Founder and Managing Partner of Lemon Law Experts California’s leading lemon law firm. She has multiple years’ worth of experience working with both state and federal lemon laws. Her practice focuses exclusively on consumer protection cases. Ms. Anvar received her J.D. from Loyola Law School. She also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Loyola Marymount University. Jessica is very active in her local legal community and has helped thousands of clients across the state of California. She has an outstanding record as a true advocate for consumers.

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