If one other driver is at fault for your car accident, you'll probably manage to hire an individual 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 a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the individual filing an individual injury lawsuit, when a case makes it to court). But just how much are you going to need to pay?
Most car accident attorneys charge because of their services in a reasonably unique way—as opposed to the hourly fee that lots of firms charge in other types of cases. The conventional car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to defend myself against an accident case. A contingency fee means that the firm will not get paid any attorney's fees unless you recover money into 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 best way to trial).
In this article, we'll have a closer look at how contingency fees work and what you can get if you determine 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, 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 greatly based on whether an individual injury lawsuit must be filed against one other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it visits court, the percentage might be on the low side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and after 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 one other 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 regulations in your state) allows the attorney for 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this example, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is always very important to speak together with your attorney about the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you may not 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 a "cut and dry" case—fault for the automobile accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has plenty of car insurance, and there's ample evidence burning your claims—you can certainly negotiate a lesser contingency percentage. You do not need to give up a third of one's compensation simply because you will need the leverage of getting a lawyer on your side.
Fees and Expenses
Depending on the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you may or might not result in upfront court fees and other litigation expenses, 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 pay the above-mentioned fees as they become due. If your contract states that you will be accountable for these costs, you can expect an individual injury firm to call you and seek payment since the fees become due. If you cannot pay these fees, your case will more than likely 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 settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your car accident case for $100,000. Now, your contract stated that costs and expenses could 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 expenses and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You would find yourself 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 quantity 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 when it becomes a package breaker, it's probably best to find another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not totally all cases calls for a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an original retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee at the conclusion of one's case. However, if you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney should really be subtracted from the percentage due to the attorney at the conclusion 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 flat fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are generally reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a flat fee where in actuality 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 just a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The typical rule is this: The more severe the injuries, the greater the worthiness of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a small fender bender with little if any injuries, you can probably negotiate an individual injury settlement with no lawyer. On one other hand, if you're injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worthiness of one's case rises quickly. This means the insurance adjuster will work to minimize your damages and try to have you to just accept a suprisingly low settlement offer—they are available of earning money, not spending it, after all. Because situation, having an experienced lawyer on your side becomes essential.