If the other driver is at fault for your car accident, you'll probably have the ability to hire an individual injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Find out when it's worth the cost.
If you've experienced an auto accident, and it's pretty clear that the other driver was at fault, you will end up looking for a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents anyone filing an individual injury lawsuit, each time a case helps it be to court). But just how much can you need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge for their services in a reasonably unique way—instead of the hourly fee that many firms charge in other kinds of cases. The typical car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to defend myself against a personal injury case. A contingency fee means that the firm won't get paid any attorney's fees unless you recover money in your case. The lawyer or law firm are certain to get paid a percentage of money received from any car insurance settlement or jury verdict (if the case goes all how you can trial).
In this information, we'll have a closer look at how contingency fees work and everything you can expect if you determine to hire a lawyer to take care of your car accident case.
The Contingency Percentage
The percentage 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 yourself 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 according to whether an individual injury lawsuit needs to be filed against the other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it visits court, the percentage may be on the lower side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and after the defendant has served a conventional response 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.
As an example, suppose your lawyer sent a demand letter to the other 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, guess that the case instead ended in a jury verdict of $90,000 and your agreement (and/or what the law states in your state) allows the attorney for 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is always important to speak with your attorney concerning the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you don't understand the fee arrangement as stated in the contract, ask your attorney to explain it to you.
Also, just like everything in an agreement, the fee is negotiable. If yours is really a "cut and dry" case—fault for the vehicle accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has a lot of car insurance, and there's ample evidence burning your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lower contingency percentage. You never need to stop a third of one's compensation simply because you will need the leverage of getting a lawyer on your own side.
Fees and Expenses
With respect to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you may or might 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 while they become due. If your contract states that you are accountable for these costs, you are able to expect an individual injury firm to call you and seek payment whilst the fees become due. If you fail to pay these fees, your case will probably not proceed until there is 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 own settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your car accident case for $100,000. This time around, your contract stated that costs and expenses would 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'd wind up receiving $60,000 as a final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Make sure that your lawyer takes their fee out from the "net settlement"—that's, the total amount left after case expenses are deducted. This arrangement is typical. However, some law firms may try to boost their pay by taking their money out first. Let them realize that you won't accept that, and if it becomes an offer breaker, it's probably best to locate another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not totally all cases will involve a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an initial retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee by the end of one's case. However, if you recover money, the total amount already paid to the attorney must be subtracted from the percentage because of the attorney by the end of the case. For instance, 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 an appartment fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are normally reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge an appartment fee where in fact the legal representation is limited to drafting and responding to a demand letter. Because case, the fee may range from $300 to $1,000.
Is a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The general rule is this: The more serious the injuries, the higher the worthiness of hiring a lawyer. If you were in a small fender bender with minimum injuries, you are able to probably negotiate an individual injury settlement with out a lawyer. On the other hand, if you were injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worthiness of one's case rises quickly. What this means is the insurance adjuster works to minimize your damages and try to get you to just accept a very low settlement offer—they're in the business of earning money, not spending it, after all. Because situation, having an experienced lawyer on your own side becomes essential.