What Happens with Attorney Legal Fees if a Plaintiff Loses a Car Accident Lawsuit?

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Firstly, all local Injury Law Rights Car Accident Attorney Offices guarantee that you will not ever have to pay attorney fees or related legal costs if your case is not successful. We promise no hidden legal fees, and no hidden lawyer conditions for getting a top settlement amount for a pending accident claim lawsuit case.

In most personal injury cases, as the plaintiff, your attorney will be working on a contingency fee, or commission, if you will. If you have agreed to a contingency rate with your attorney, you will not have any legal fees to pay if you lose the case. If you win, the attorney will get a predetermined amount of the settlement, which is usually in the 30 to 40 percent range.

So what happens if I lose my car accident case and have no lawsuit settlement? In some much more rare cases with other local auto accident lawyer firms in the area, however, such as a case where the outcome may not be certain, the attorney may charge a flat rate or an hourly fee. If that is the case, and the case loses, you are still going to be responsible for those fees as well as any additional fees that were accumulated during the case, such as investigative costs, expert testimony, etc.

For this reason alone, is why you will always want to first get an immediate free online car accident claim review with the best local expert attorney for auto collision cases who will confirm that you will never pay lawyer fees out of your pocket. This simple and free legal peace of mind is always worth it in every pending local accident lawsuit case, to know exactly what to expect for how legal fees work with getting a settlement for your specific claim.

Fee Agreements with Local Personal Injury Attorneys

There are basically four different categories of attorney fees:

  • Contingency fees
  • Flat rates
  • Hourly rates
  • Retainers

Contingency Fees

The best way to explain this is as a commission for the case. For example, if the case wins, the attorney will receive ‘X’ percentage of the settlement. This fee can also be a sliding scale based on how much the case settles for as well as how long it takes to settle the case. For example, if the case settles within two months of the filling, the attorney may only charge 20 percent because of how little work was needed on the case. If, however, the case drags out over a few years, the attorney may take 35 percent of the settlement.

Additionally, prior to both parties getting their “split,” additional fees will need to be deducted whether they are paid out of the settlement or were paid upfront, such as expert legal testimony, investigative costs, etc.

If you are working on a contingency fee with your attorney, it is far more beneficial to have the additional costs deducted prior to the split, as it can dramatically impact how much you walk away from the case with after the checks have been cut. For instance, if you have a case with $20,000 in outstanding bills that settled for $100,000 with a contingency fee of 30 percent for the attorney, you would walk away with $56,000 if the additional costs were deducted before the split, but only $50,000 if the costs were deducted after the split (the costs will generally always come out of your end on a post-split agreement).

Flat Rate Fees

Flat rate fees are not normally something a personal injury attorney will offer, but this could be the case if they thought the outcome of the case was not a certainty. Generally speaking, however, flat rate fees are something that are offered for far more simpler tasks, such as:

  • Will
  • House closing
  • Uncontested divorce
  • Business license
  • Patent
  • Copyright

Hourly Rates

Again, for a personal injury case, at the plaintiff, this will be a rarity. Hourly costs can add up to be a rather significant bill, which is why criminal attorneys and divorce lawyers charge hourly rates. Attorneys bill, literally, for every minute that is spent on the case, even if it is 15-minute phone call to discuss the case with the client.


This is basically an extension of the hourly rate. Retainers are generally used for people or companies that are in regular need of legal services. A “block” of hourly time is purchased, placed in the account, then used as credit for all time worked on the case. When the retainer is exhausted, it will have to be replenished by the client to continue the relationship. As the plaintiff in the case, it is unlikely you will be working on an hourly or retainer fee.

If you were recently in an auto accident and suffered injuries and/or property damage, give us a call. One of legal experts would be more than happy to discuss your case to go over your options. Your initial consultation is free of charge and you are under no obligation to use our services for having a consultation. If you are ready to discuss your case, give us a call at 855-633-0888. If you would like to learn more about our legal services before talking to someone in person, please click here.

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