If one other driver is to blame for your car accident, you'll probably be able to hire your own injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Learn when it's worth the cost.
If you've been in a vehicle accident, and it's pretty clear that one other driver was to blame, you will end up looking for a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the person filing your own injury lawsuit, each time a case makes it to court). But simply how much do you want to need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge because of 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 ensures that the firm will not receives a commission any attorney's fees until you recover cash in your case. The lawyer or law firm are certain to 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 short 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 take care of 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 according to whether your own injury lawsuit has to be filed against one other 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 following the defendant has served an official 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 one other driver's insurance company in your case, and you quickly reached a settlement for $90,000. In this case, 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 to get 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this case, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely important to speak along with your attorney concerning the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you do not understand the fee arrangement as stated in the contract, ask your attorney to describe it to you.
Also, just like everything in a contract, the fee is negotiable. If yours is really a "cut and dry" case—fault for the vehicle accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has lots of car insurance, and there's ample evidence backing up your claims—you can certainly negotiate less contingency percentage. That you do not need to stop a next of your compensation mainly because you'll 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 might or might not be responsible for 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 while they become due. If your contract states that you're in charge of 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 likely 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 will soon be deducted from your own 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 case, your attorney would receive $10,000 as reimbursement for the expenses and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You would wind up receiving $60,000 as your final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee out from the "net settlement"—that's, the amount 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 understand 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 absolutely all cases will involve a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an original retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee by the end of your case. However, in the event that you recover money, the amount already paid to the attorney ought to be subtracted from the percentage as a result of attorney by the end 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 will not involve an appartment fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are normally reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge an appartment fee where in actuality the legal representation is limited to drafting and answering a demand letter. In that 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 severe the injuries, the higher the value of hiring a lawyer. If you had been in a minor fender bender with little if any injuries, you can probably negotiate your own injury settlement with out a lawyer. On one other hand, if you had been injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the value of your case rises quickly. This means the insurance adjuster will continue to work to minimize your damages and try to have you to just accept a very low settlement offer—they are available of earning money, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having an experienced lawyer on your own side becomes essential.