If another driver is to blame 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 a car accident, and it's pretty clear that another driver was to blame, you will be looking for a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the individual filing an individual injury lawsuit, whenever a case helps it be to court). But just how much can you need to pay?
Most car accident attorneys charge for their services in a reasonably unique way—instead of the hourly fee that lots of firms charge in other types of cases. The normal car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to defend myself against an accident case. A contingency fee means that the firm won't receives a commission any attorney's fees if you don't recover cash in your case. The lawyer or law firm can 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 take a closer look at how contingency fees work and everything you can get if you choose to hire a lawyer to take care of your car 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, if 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 depending on whether an individual injury lawsuit has to be filed against another driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it visits 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 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.
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 example, 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 to get 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this example, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely important to speak together 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 previously mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to spell out it to you.
Also, the same as everything in an agreement, the fee is negotiable. If yours is really a "cut and dry" case—fault for the car accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has lots of car insurance, and there's ample evidence burning your claims—you can certainly negotiate a lower contingency percentage. You do not need to give up a next of your compensation simply because you'll need the leverage of having a lawyer on your own side.
Fees and Expenses
With regards to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you may or might not result in 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 the above-mentioned fees as they become due. If your contract states that you will be responsible for these costs, you can expect an individual injury firm to call you and seek payment since 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 is going 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 example, your attorney would receive $10,000 as reimbursement for the costs and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You'd wind up receiving $60,000 as your final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Make sure that your lawyer takes their fee out of 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 increase 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 get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not totally all cases calls for a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an original retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee at the conclusion of your case. However, in the event that you recover money, the total amount already paid to the attorney must certanly be subtracted from the percentage as a result of attorney at the conclusion 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 won't involve an appartment fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are generally reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge an appartment fee where the legal representation is limited to drafting and responding to a demand letter. For the reason that case, the fee may range between $300 to $1,000.
Is a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The overall rule is this: The much more serious the injuries, the greater the worthiness of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a small fender bender with minimum injuries, you can probably negotiate an individual injury settlement with no lawyer. On another hand, if you're injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worthiness of your case rises quickly. What this means is the insurance adjuster works to minimize your damages and try to have you to just accept a really low settlement offer—they're in the business of making money, not spending it, after all. For the reason that situation, having a skilled lawyer on your own side becomes essential.