If the other driver is to blame for your vehicle accident, you'll probably be able to hire an individual injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Find out when it's worth the cost.
If you've experienced an auto accident, and it's pretty clear that the other driver was to blame, you will be looking for a 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 will you need to pay?
Most car accident attorneys charge for their services in a reasonably unique way—as opposed to the hourly fee that many firms charge in other kinds of cases. The normal car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to battle a personal injury case. A contingency fee implies that the firm won't receives a commission any attorney's fees until you recover money in to your case. The lawyer or law firm are certain to get paid a share 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 take a closer look at how contingency fees work and what you can get 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 can vary greatly according to whether an individual injury lawsuit needs to be filed against the other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it would go to 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.
For instance, 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 always important to speak together 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 previously 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 a "cut and dry" case—fault for the automobile accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has plenty of car insurance, and there's ample evidence copying your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lesser contingency percentage. You don't need to quit a next of one's compensation simply because you need the leverage of having a lawyer in your side.
Fees and Expenses
With respect to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you might or may not lead to 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 pay the above-mentioned fees because they become due. If your contract states that you are in charge of these costs, you are able to expect an individual injury firm to call you and seek payment because the fees become due. If you fail to pay these fees, your case will probably 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 is likely 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 will 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 would find yourself receiving $60,000 as your final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Make sure that your lawyer takes their fee out from the "net settlement"—that is, the quantity 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 know 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 all cases calls for a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an initial retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee by the end of one's case. However, in the event that you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney must certanly be subtracted from the percentage because of the attorney by the end 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 won't 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 responding to a demand letter. For the reason that case, the fee may vary from $300 to $1,000.
Is really a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The overall rule is this: The more serious the injuries, the more the value of hiring a lawyer. If you were in a fender bender with little or no injuries, you are able to probably negotiate an individual injury settlement without a lawyer. On the other hand, if you were injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the value of one's case rises quickly. This implies the insurance adjuster works to minimize your damages and try to obtain you to simply accept a really low settlement offer—they're in the commercial of earning profits, not spending it, after all. For the reason that situation, having a skilled lawyer in your side becomes essential.