If the other driver is to blame 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 a vehicle accident, and it's pretty clear that the other driver was to blame, you will end up buying plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the individual filing an individual injury lawsuit, each time a case helps it be to court). But just how much are you going to need to pay?
Most car accident attorneys charge for their services in a fairly unique way—rather than the hourly fee that numerous firms charge in other types of cases. The conventional car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to take on an injury case. A contingency fee implies that the firm will not receive money any attorney's fees if you don't recover money in to your case. The lawyer or law firm will 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 article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and that which you can get if you determine to hire a lawyer to deal with your vehicle 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, when you 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 the other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it would go to court, the percentage may be on the low side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and following the defendant has served an official 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.
For 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 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 the law in your state) allows the attorney for 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this example, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely very important to speak 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 describe it to you.
Also, exactly like 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 a lot of car insurance, and there's ample evidence backing up your claims—you can certainly negotiate a lower contingency percentage. You never need to give up a third of one's compensation mainly because you need the leverage of having 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 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 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 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 going to be deducted from your settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your vehicle accident case for $100,000. This time around, 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 costs and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You would find yourself receiving $60,000 as a final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee from the "net settlement"—that's, the quantity 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 realize 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 absolutely all cases will involve a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect a preliminary retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee at the conclusion of one's case. However, in the event that you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney should be subtracted from the percentage due to the attorney at the conclusion of the case. Like, 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 answering a demand letter. Because case, the fee may range from $300 to $1,000.
Is a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The overall rule is this: The more serious the injuries, the greater the value of hiring a lawyer. If you had been in a minor fender bender with little or no injuries, you can probably negotiate an individual injury settlement with no lawyer. On the other hand, if you had been injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the value of one's case rises quickly. This implies the insurance adjuster will continue to work to minimize your damages and try to have you to accept a suprisingly 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.