How can I find a lawyer to represent me when there is a low payment from the insurance company?

I was hit by an Audi dealership driver on the right side of my car when he ran a stop sign. Zurich, the insurance co/ for Audi, immediately recognized culpability.I went to my chiropractor the next day, and to my orthopedic dr. two days later I was trying to do things as easily and quickly as possible. It took about 5 months for the chiropractice to work. According to one attorney, I could ask for 10,000-15,000. I sent Zurich my sitgnature so they could get records last June. I called repeatedly in January and they dont answer my calls. I have gotten all my records and written a letter, but want an attorney to help me. How can I find someone where their payoff is so small?

Asked on June 8, 2016 under Personal Injury, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You will most likely have to pay the lawyer on an hourly rate, which could, even for a small or solo practioner, easily be $150- $250/hour, for, if you sue and have to go to trial, what could easily range to 40 hours of work--that is, you could easily incur $10,000 of legal fees, possibly more, in order to sue, with no guaranty at all of winning. Quite frankly, it may not be cost effective to hire an attorney to sue, unless you find one wiling to quote you some maximum cost or flat fee which keeps your total cost to something you are willing to risk or wager.
Mind you, it could also be much less, if the matter is resolved with some exchange(s) of letters and documents--if the lawyer only needs to put 6 - 10 hours in (including meeting with you, reviewing files, etc.), you're talking $900 (6 hours at, say $150/hour) to $2,500 (10 hours at, say $250). But you don't know in advance how much it will cost or how long it will take, so you need to make your cost-benefit decision using the higher numbers--i.e. up to $10k or so if you need to go to trial.
You are not likely to find anyone to take this on a contingency basis: if the payoff is, say, $12,000 and a laywer would get 1/3, that means he/he would get $4,000. If it does have to involve litigation, that may mean an effective rate of $100 or less, with no guaranty of getting anything (i.e. the lawyer would only be paid if you collect money). That's not attractive for a lawyer.

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

To find a personal injury attorney, you should check online or in the Yellow Pages or obtain a referral from the County Bar Association.
Most personal injury attorneys will charge a contingency fee of 1/3 of the amount recovered.  If the case has to be litigated, they might charge more.

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