If another driver is to blame for your car accident, you'll probably have the ability to hire a personal injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Find out when it's worth the cost.
If you've held it's place in an auto accident, and it's pretty clear that another driver was to blame, you'll be looking for a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the individual filing a personal injury lawsuit, when a case causes it to be to court). But how much will you need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge because of their services in a fairly unique way—rather than the hourly fee that many firms charge in other forms of cases. The conventional car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to defend myself against an injury case. A contingency fee means that the firm won't receive money any attorney's fees until you recover money into your case. The lawyer or law firm are certain to get paid a share of money received from any car insurance settlement or jury verdict (if the case goes all the best way to trial).
In this article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and what you can expect if you choose to hire a lawyer to handle your car accident case.
The Contingency Percentage
The percentage that a personal injury lawyer can receive in a contingency fee agreement varies, but typically ranges from 25 to 40 percent, and 33 percent (or one-third) is pretty standard. So, when you have a 33% contingency fee arrangement and you recover $90,000 in your car accident case, your attorney will receive around $30,000.
A contingency fee percentage can vary greatly depending on whether a personal injury lawsuit must be filed against another driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it would go to court, the percentage might be on the lower side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and following the defendant has served a formal answer to your complaint—or if the case proceeds to trial and a jury verdict is reached, the attorney's share may increase to 40 percent.
For example, suppose your lawyer sent a demand letter to another driver's insurance company in your case, and you quickly reached a settlement for $90,000. In this situation, the attorney would again receive $30,000 (33%). However, suppose that the case instead ended in a jury verdict of $90,000 and your agreement (and/or regulations in your state) allows the attorney to get 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely important to speak with your attorney about the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you don't understand the fee arrangement as mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to explain it to you.
Also, the same as everything in an agreement, the fee is negotiable. If yours is just a "cut and dry" case—fault for the vehicle accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has plenty of car insurance, and there's ample evidence copying your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lower contingency percentage. That you don't need to give up a third of one's compensation mainly because you need the leverage of experiencing a lawyer in your side.
Fees and Expenses
With regards to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you may or may not result in upfront court fees and other litigation expenses, just like the cost of obtaining medical records and police reports, court reporter fees, and expert witness fees.
Many personal injury firms require the client to cover the above-mentioned fees because they become due. If your contract states that you're accountable for these costs, you are able to expect a personal injury firm to call you and seek payment because the fees become due. If you cannot pay these fees, your case will probably not proceed until there's a payment.
Other personal injury firms (typically large firms), will cover all fees and expenses. However, the fees and expenses is likely to be deducted from your settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your car accident case for $100,000. This time, your contract stated that costs and expenses could be deducted from the settlement. Your attorney incurred $10,000 in costs and expenses. In this situation, your attorney would receive $10,000 as reimbursement for the expenses and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You would end up receiving $60,000 as one last recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Make sure that your lawyer takes their fee out of the "net settlement"—that's, the amount left after case expenses are deducted. This arrangement is typical. However, some law firms may try to improve their pay by taking their money out first. Let them understand that you won't accept that, and if it becomes an offer breaker, it's probably best to find another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not all cases calls for a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an initial retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee at the end of one's case. However, if you recover money, the amount already paid to the attorney must certanly be subtracted from the percentage as a result of attorney at the end of the case. For example, if you paid $2,000 to the attorney as a retainer and recover $90,000 in a settlement, the attorney will receive $28,000 from the settlement ($30,000-$2,000 = $28,000).
Most car accident cases won't involve a set fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are normally reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a set fee where in fact the legal representation is limited to drafting and responding to a demand letter. Because case, the fee may range between $300 to $1,000.
Is really a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The general rule is this: The more severe the injuries, the more the value of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a small fender bender with little if any injuries, you are able to probably negotiate a personal injury settlement with out a lawyer. On another hand, if you're injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the value of one's case rises quickly. What this means is the insurance adjuster will work to minimize your damages and try to obtain you to simply accept a suprisingly low settlement offer—they are available of earning money, not spending it, after all. Because situation, having an experienced lawyer in your side becomes essential.