Are Georgia Car Accident Attorney Fees Worth Paying?

June 15, 2019

When injured in traffic, many Georgians avoid consulting an Albany car accident attorney. They do so because they fear lawyer fees and they are not fully aware of their rights. This approach ends up hurting their case for several reasons.

On one hand, claimants who do not work with an auto accident lawyer often settle for less than their case is worth. Some even fail to obtain compensation. On the other hand, not all car accident attorneys charge the same fees. Moreover, in some cases, it is possible to recover at least a part of those fees.

Albany, Georgia Car Accident Attorney Payment Models Under the Loop

Each car accident lawyer in Georgia is free to decide how they charge their clients. In Albany, the following three payment models have emerged:

  1. Hourly rates – The attorney charges their client for every hour they spend working on their case. Some charge for intervals as short as ten minutes, no matter the case outcome. This payment model can be risky, as the client has no control over costs.
  2. Flat fee – Upon reviewing a case, some lawyers assess how much work it would involve and propose a flat rate. That is how much the accident victim will pay for their services. If the case settles early, the lawyer makes some easy money. Many attorneys prepare for situations when cases reach litigation and charge their clients accordingly.
  3. Contingency fee – This is perhaps the most convenient yet controversial payment model. Some Georgia car accident lawyers will accept to get paid when they win, if they win. This is beneficial to their clients, as they can pay when they receive their compensation. Also, they do not pay anything if they lose, and the lawyer is more motivated. However, the fees in these cases can reach higher amounts.

Recovering Georgia Car Accident Attorney Fees

Many have no idea that Georgia law allows car accident victims to claim attorney fees and litigation expenses. Of course, they can only do so when certain conditions are met. We will discuss the most common ones in the following lines.

One way to recover attorney fees is to bring a claim under Georgia Code section 13-6-11. The section refers to contract litigations and could cover cases where the claimant seeks compensation based on an insurance contract.

In order to recover attorney fees, the claimant would have to make a special request. They would also have to prove that the defendant, namely the insurer:

  • Acted in bad faith
  • Insisted to reach litigation
  • Was a source of unnecessary expenses and troubles for the claimant.

A relevant scenario at this point would be when insurance companies wrongfully deny claims. Perhaps they refused to investigate the claim or, on the contrary, requested all types of costly and unnecessary evaluations.

Another scenario is when the party at fault admits liability at the scene but denies it when faced with the compensation claim. Many drivers acknowledge speeding, tailgating, and other violations during the accident scene investigations.

However, when their victims seek compensation in court, they refuse to admit their negligence. This qualifies as stubborn litigiousness or “so sue me” attitude and could justify a claim for attorney fees and litigation costs.

Another Georgia law section referring to attorney fees and litigation costs is § 9-15-14. It refers to frivolous actions and defenses. According to it, claimants who act frivolously could be liable for the defendant’s attorney fees and litigation costs. Here, the term “frivolous” refers to unjustified actions that do not rely on concrete evidence and facts.

Thus, someone who files a claim with or sues the wrong party could end up paying attorney fees and litigation costs. To avoid such situations, Albany car accident victims should choose the defendant to their claim carefully. The best way to do that is with the help of an Albany, GA auto accident lawyer.

While working with a lawyer could be expensive, so could be not working with one. The good news is that some Albany car accident lawyers offer free case reviews. This means accident victims can get an estimate of their claim value and possible attorney fees.

Schedule a Consultation to Find Out How Much Your Case Is Worth and What Attorney Fees It Would Involve

At Joe Durham Jr. P.C., we too provide free case reviews. You can schedule one to have your case evaluated and find out how much our assistance would cost you. Our Albany, Georgia car accident lawyer will try their best to provide the financial and legal solutions you need.