If another driver is responsible for your vehicle accident, you'll probably manage to hire an individual injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Learn 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 responsible, you'll be looking for a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents anyone filing an individual injury lawsuit, whenever a case makes it to court). But just how much do you want to need to pay for?
Most car accident attorneys charge due to their services in a reasonably unique way—rather than the hourly fee that lots of firms charge in other forms of cases. The typical car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to defend myself against a personal injury case. A contingency fee implies that the firm will not receives a commission any attorney's fees until you recover money in to 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 the way to trial).
In this information, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and that which you can get if you choose to hire a lawyer to deal with your vehicle accident case.
The Contingency Percentage
The percentage that the 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 vehicle accident case, your attorney will receive around $30,000.
A contingency fee percentage may vary based on whether an individual injury lawsuit has to be filed against another driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it goes to court, the percentage might be on the lower side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and after the defendant has served a conventional reply 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 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 what the law states in your state) allows the attorney to get 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely important to 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 previously mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to explain it to you.
Also, just like 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 lots of car insurance, and there's ample evidence copying your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lesser contingency percentage. You do not need to quit a third of one's compensation simply because you'll need the leverage of experiencing a lawyer in your side.
Fees and Expenses
Depending on the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you might or may not lead to upfront court fees and other litigation expenses, such as the cost of obtaining medical records and police reports, court reporter fees, and expert witness fees.
Many personal injury firms require the client to pay for the above-mentioned fees as they become due. If your contract states that you will be responsible for these costs, you are able to expect an individual injury firm to call you and seek payment as the fees become due. If you cannot pay these fees, your case will more than likely 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 be deducted from your settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your vehicle 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 expense and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You'd wind up receiving $60,000 as one last recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee from the "net settlement"—that is, the total 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 know that you won't accept that, and if it becomes a package breaker, it's probably best to find another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not totally all cases will involve a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect a preliminary retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee at the end of one's case. However, if you recover money, the total amount already paid to the attorney ought to be subtracted from the percentage because of the attorney at 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 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 actuality the legal representation is limited to drafting and giving an answer to a demand letter. In that case, the fee may range from $300 to $1,000.
Is a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The typical rule is this: The more severe the injuries, the more the worthiness of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a fender bender with little or no injuries, you are able to probably negotiate an individual injury settlement with out a lawyer. On another hand, if you're injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worthiness 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 accept a really low settlement offer—they are in the commercial of making money, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having an experienced lawyer in your side becomes essential.