What is a reasonable contingency fee in an auto accident case?
I have been handling auto accident cases since 1986 and, during the entire time I have been practicing, the standard contingency fee in an auto accident case has been 33 & 1/3%. There is no law guiding the amount of attorneys’ fees other than the requirement that the fee must be “reasonable.” Lately, I have seen that attorneys have been raising their fee to 35% and 40% and the question is whether that is reasonable.
Due to inflation, verdicts for victims of auto accidents have increased over time and as a result I believe there is no justification for attorneys to raise their contingency fees. The attorneys who pay thousands of dollars on advertising may justify the higher fees to cover their advertising costs, but consumers need to be aware of this fact.
When looking for an attorney carefully consider the amount of his fee and do not simply accept that what he requires is reasonable. Also, if an attorney ever tells you that his exceptional skills warrant a higher fee remind him that if this is true then he will make more money by obtaining a larger settlement or jury verdict and thereby be paid for his skill. By charging a higher fee he is simply taking more of the settlement regardless of skill. His skill is actually greed or his ego.