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How much does a personal injury lawyer charge for handling a car accident case?

How much does a personal injury lawyer charge for handling a car accident case?

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

If you are a business owner in Toronto, Ontario, and you have been in a vehicle accident, you might be wondering how much it will cost you to hire a lawyer to guide your case through the court system. There are a number of variables that affect how much it will cost to hire a personal injury lawyer to represent you in a car accident lawsuit.

To start, in Ontario, personal injury lawyers are paid differently than, for example, corporate lawyers, employment lawyers, criminal lawyers, or family lawyers. Personal injury lawyers are not paid by the hour and personal injury clients do not pay their invoices every month.

Instead, personal injury lawyers are paid a percentage of the settlement amount from your case from an insurance company. Typically, that amount is 33% of the insurance settlement. Plus, many personal injury firms do not charge clients anything if they don’t win your case.

Why is this that, you may wonder? And isn’t 33% a lot of money?

This is how it works: while working on your car accident case, personal injury lawyers must devote their time, their experience, their expertise, plus they pay for all the necessary medical reports, their office staff, court filing fees, office rent, technology costs, and so on. This is called “carrying the file.” In return for carrying the file, sometimes for years. Meanwhile, the personal injury lawyer carries on business. Equally important, the client, frequently injured, pays nothing.

Because it is not unusual for these types of cases to take years to settle (meaning to reach the payout stage). This is especially true for personal injury cases involving vehicle accidents where the car accident victims have sustained very serious or even catastrophic injuries.

This system was set up consiously, by the Ontario government, and is part of the province’s “Access to Justice” system. If this system was not in place, accident victims would need to pay for the services of a car accident lawyer monthly as their case proceeds, something that many accident victims cannot do because they are injured, cannot work, cannot earn an income, and therefore have difficulty paying their bills. Few, if any, accident victims could afford to pay a personal injury lawyer when they are in hospital or at home recuperating from their injuries. 

The complexity of the case is one of the big variables that can affect the cost of hiring a personal injury lawyer. An automobile collision involving several vehicles, many injured victims, and considerable property damage, for instance, may make the legal process more complex and require more time and resources to settle. The more vehicles and car accident victims are involved, the more complicate your case is, legally-speaking.

The amount of experience and expertise a lawyer has might also affect how much they charge. In comparison to personal injury lawyers with less experience and who are just beginning their practice, more seasoned and established lawyers may bill for their services at a greater rate. While a more experienced lawyer may charge more, it does necessarily mean better client service or a larger insurance payout for your case. There are no guarantees.

Depending on their billing technique, a lawyer’s fees may also change. While some lawyers bill by the hour, others may work on a contingency basis, which means they only get paid if they win your case. To avoid unpleasant surprises later on, it is crucial to go over the fees and billing arrangements with your personal injury lawyer before hiring them. 

The Law Society of Ontario (LSO) establishes the standards for the rates that lawyers can bill their clients in the province. The LSO states that laywers must bill clients fairly and reasonably, reflecting the services rendered and the outcomes obtained for the client. Lawyers must also give their clients a formal retainer agreement outlining the parameters of the representation, including fees and disbursements. 

In Toronto, Ontario, the expense of retaining a lawyer for a car accident case can run from several thousand dollars to tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that retaining legal counsel can be valuable to help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries and other losses.

To increase the odds that you will receive a fair settlement for your injuries and damages, a skilled personal injury lawyer can help you negotiate with insurance companies as well as navigate the bureaucratic, slow legal system.

It’s really important to do your own research and pick a lawyer with experience handling cases similar to yours if you’re thinking about hiring one for a car accident case. Additionally, you can look for lawyers online or request recommendations from friends and relatives.

Make an appointment for a consultation with each lawyer on your shortlist to go over the details your case, the overall strength of your case, the lawyer’s experience, and their fee and billing arrangements.

The cost of hiring a car accident lawyer in Toronto, Ontario, for a vehicle accident lawsuit can vary based on a number of variables, such as the complexity of the case, the lawyer’s experience, and their fee structure. 

To get fair compensation for your losses and injuries, it is wise to retain the services of a personal injury lawyer. To avoid unpleasant surprises later on, do your homework, and pick a competent personal injury lawyer to help you with your car accident case.