If one other driver is at fault for your car or truck accident, you'll probably have the ability to hire a personal injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Discover when it's worth the cost.
If you've been in a vehicle accident, and it's pretty clear that one other driver was at fault, you will be buying plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the individual filing a personal injury lawsuit, whenever a case makes it to court). But just how much will you need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge because of their services in a fairly unique way—instead of the hourly fee that lots of firms charge in other types of cases. The typical car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to battle a personal injury case. A contingency fee means that the firm will not get paid any attorney's fees if you recover money in to 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 how you can trial).
In this short article, we'll have a closer look at how contingency fees work and that which you can get if you decide to hire a lawyer to take care of your car or truck 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, if you have a 33% contingency fee arrangement and you recover $90,000 in your car or truck accident case, your attorney will receive around $30,000.
A contingency fee percentage can vary greatly based on whether a personal injury lawsuit needs to be filed against one other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it would go to court, the percentage might be on the reduced side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and after the defendant has served an official 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.
As an example, suppose your lawyer sent a demand letter to one 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 the law in your state) allows the attorney to receive 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is obviously crucial that you speak along with your attorney in regards to the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you do not understand the fee arrangement as stated in the contract, ask your attorney to explain it to you.
Also, the same as everything in a contract, the fee is negotiable. If yours is a "cut and dry" case—fault for the automobile accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has a lot 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 simply because you 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 may not be responsible for 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 as 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 as the fees become due. If you fail to 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 will undoubtedly be deducted from your settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your car or truck accident case for $100,000. Now, 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 would end up receiving $60,000 as your final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Make sure that your lawyer takes their fee from the "net settlement"—that is, the quantity left after case expenses are deducted. This arrangement is typical. However, some law firms may try to increase their pay by taking their money out first. Let them know that you won't accept that, and when it becomes a package breaker, it's probably best to locate another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not all cases will involve a natural 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, in the event that you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney must certanly be subtracted from the percentage as a result of attorney at the end of the case. As an example, in the event that 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 will not involve a set fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are usually reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a set fee where in fact the legal representation is limited to drafting and giving an answer to a demand letter. For the reason that case, the fee may vary from $300 to $1,000.
Is a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The typical rule is this: The much more serious the injuries, the more the worth of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a fender bender with little or no injuries, you are able to probably negotiate a personal injury settlement without a lawyer. On one other hand, if you're injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worth of one's case rises quickly. What this means is the insurance adjuster works to minimize your damages and try to have you to accept a suprisingly low settlement offer—they are in the commercial of making money, not spending it, after all. For the reason that situation, having a skilled lawyer on your own side becomes essential.