If another driver is to blame for your vehicle accident, you'll probably manage to hire a personal 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 another driver was to blame, you'll be looking for a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents anyone filing a personal injury lawsuit, whenever a case helps it be to court). But simply how much do you want to need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge for their services in a reasonably unique way—as opposed to the hourly fee that numerous firms charge in other kinds of cases. The typical car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to defend myself against an injury case. A contingency fee means that the firm won't get paid any attorney's fees unless you recover money in to your case. The lawyer or law firm can 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 informative article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and what you can expect if you decide 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 can vary greatly based on whether a personal injury lawsuit needs to be filed against another driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it goes to 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 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.
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 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 to receive 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this example, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is obviously vital that you 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 stated in the contract, ask your attorney to spell out it to you.
Also, just like 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 are able to certainly negotiate less contingency percentage. That you do not need to give up a next of your compensation mainly because you'll need the leverage of having a lawyer in 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 cover the above-mentioned fees as they become due. If your contract states that you're in charge of these costs, you are able to expect a personal injury firm to call you and seek payment whilst 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. 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 costs and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You'd find yourself receiving $60,000 as your final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Be sure 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 know 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 a preliminary retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee at the end of your case. However, in the event that you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney ought to be subtracted from the percentage as a result of attorney at the end of the case. For 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 a flat fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are typically reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a flat fee where the legal representation is limited to drafting and answering a demand letter. Because case, the fee may vary from $300 to $1,000.
Is a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The typical rule is this: The more serious the injuries, the greater the worthiness of hiring a lawyer. If you had been in a small fender bender with little or no injuries, you are able to probably negotiate a personal injury settlement without a lawyer. On another hand, if you had been injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worthiness of your case rises quickly. This implies the insurance adjuster works to minimize your damages and try to get you to simply accept a suprisingly low settlement offer—they're available of earning profits, not spending it, after all. Because situation, having an experienced lawyer in your side becomes essential.