If another driver is to blame for your car accident, you'll probably manage to hire an individual injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Find out 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 will be buying plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the individual filing an individual injury lawsuit, each time a case makes it to court). But simply how much are you going to need to pay for?
Most car accident attorneys charge due to their services in a reasonably unique way—instead of the hourly fee that numerous firms charge in other types of cases. The normal car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to battle an injury case. A contingency fee means that the firm will not receives a commission any attorney's fees unless you recover money into 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 how you can trial).
In this short article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and everything you can expect if you determine to hire a lawyer to handle your car accident case.
The Contingency Percentage
The percentage that the 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 car accident case, your attorney will receive around $30,000.
A contingency fee percentage may vary according to whether an individual injury lawsuit has to be filed against another driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it goes to court, the percentage may be on the lower side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and following the defendant has served a proper 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.
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, 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 receive 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this example, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely vital that you speak along with your attorney about the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you don't understand the fee arrangement as 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 really 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 quit a third of one's compensation mainly because you need the leverage of experiencing a lawyer on your own side.
Fees and Expenses
With regards to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you might or might not lead to 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 are responsible for these costs, you can expect an individual injury firm to call you and seek payment as 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 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 would 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'd wind up receiving $60,000 as one last recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee out of the "net settlement"—that's, the total amount 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 understand that you won't accept that, and when 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 an original retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee at the conclusion of one's case. However, if you recover money, the total amount already paid to the attorney ought to be subtracted from the percentage as a result of attorney at the conclusion of the case. For example, 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 an appartment fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are generally reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge an appartment fee where in fact the legal representation is limited to drafting and answering a demand letter. In that case, the fee may range between $300 to $1,000.
Is just a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The typical rule is this: The more serious the injuries, the more the value of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a fender bender with minimum injuries, you can probably negotiate an individual injury settlement with no lawyer. On another hand, if you're 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 get you to just accept a suprisingly low settlement offer—they are in the commercial of making money, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having a skilled lawyer on your own side becomes essential.