If one other driver is at fault for your vehicle accident, you'll probably be able to hire your own injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Discover when it's worth the cost.
If you've held it's place in an auto accident, and it's pretty clear that one other driver was at fault, you will end up looking for a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the individual filing your own injury lawsuit, each time a case makes it to court). But how much do you want to need to pay for?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her services in a reasonably unique way—rather than the hourly fee that lots of firms charge in other types of cases. The typical car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to take on a personal injury case. A contingency fee ensures that the firm won't receive money any attorney's fees if you don't recover cash in your case. The lawyer or law firm will get paid a portion of money received from any car insurance settlement or jury verdict (if the case goes all the best way to trial).
In this information, we'll have a closer look at how contingency fees work and that which you can expect if you determine to hire a lawyer to handle 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, if 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 depending on whether your own injury lawsuit has to be filed against one other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it goes to court, the percentage may 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, 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 for 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely very important to speak along with your attorney concerning the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you may not understand the fee arrangement as stated in the contract, ask your attorney to describe 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 car accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has plenty of car insurance, and there's ample evidence backing up your claims—you can certainly negotiate a lesser contingency percentage. You never need to stop a next of one's compensation simply because you need the leverage of having a lawyer on your own side.
Fees and Expenses
Depending on the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you might 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 pay for the above-mentioned fees as they become due. If your contract states that you're accountable for these costs, you can expect your own injury firm to call you and seek payment since the fees become due. If you fail to 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 will soon be deducted from your own 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 expenses 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).
Be sure that your lawyer takes their fee out of the "net settlement"—that's, the 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 know that you won't accept that, and when it becomes a package breaker, it's probably best to get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not all cases will involve a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an original retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee by the end of one's case. However, if you recover money, the amount already paid to the attorney should really be subtracted from the percentage as a result of attorney by 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 won't involve a flat fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are normally 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. For the reason that case, the fee may range between $300 to $1,000.
Is really a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The overall rule is this: The much more serious the injuries, the more the worthiness of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a small fender bender with little if any injuries, you can probably negotiate your own injury settlement without a 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 continue to work to minimize your damages and try to have you to simply accept a suprisingly low settlement offer—they're available of earning money, not spending it, after all. For the reason that situation, having an experienced lawyer on your own side becomes essential.