If one other driver is responsible for your car or truck accident, you'll probably have the ability 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 car accident, and it's pretty clear that one other driver was responsible, you'll be buying a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the person filing a personal injury lawsuit, when a case helps it be to court). But just how much are you going to need to pay?
Most car accident attorneys charge for their services in a reasonably unique way—instead of the hourly fee that numerous firms charge in other kinds of cases. The conventional car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to defend myself against an injury case. A contingency fee ensures that the firm will not get paid any attorney's fees if you recover money in to your case. The lawyer or law firm will get paid a share of money received from any car insurance settlement or jury verdict (if the case goes all the way to trial).
In this short article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and that which you can expect if you decide to hire a lawyer to take care of your car or truck 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 car or truck accident case, your attorney will receive around $30,000.
A contingency fee percentage may vary based on whether a personal injury lawsuit must be filed against one other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it visits court, the percentage may be on the lower side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and following 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 one 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, suppose 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 get 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this example, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is obviously very important to speak along with your attorney in regards to 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, just like everything in a contract, the fee is negotiable. If yours is a "cut and dry" case—fault for the vehicle accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has a lot of car insurance, and there's ample evidence backing up your claims—you can certainly negotiate a lowered contingency percentage. You don't need to quit a third of your compensation simply because you will need the leverage of having a lawyer on your own side.
Fees and Expenses
With regards to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you may or might not be responsible for upfront court fees and other litigation expenses, such as 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 as they become due. If your contract states that you will be responsible for these costs, you can expect a personal injury firm to call you and seek payment as the fees become due. If you cannot pay these fees, your case will more than 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 is likely to be deducted from your settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your car or truck accident case for $100,000. This time around, 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 expenses and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You would end up receiving $60,000 as a final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Make sure that your lawyer takes their fee out of 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 realize 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 absolutely 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 by the end of your case. However, in the event that you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney must certanly be subtracted from the percentage due to the attorney by the end of the case. For instance, 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 a flat fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are generally reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a flat fee where in actuality the legal representation is limited to drafting and giving an answer to a demand letter. In 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 more severe the injuries, the higher the worth of hiring a lawyer. If you had been in a fender bender with minimum injuries, you can probably negotiate a personal injury settlement with out a lawyer. On one other hand, if you had been injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worth of your case rises quickly. What this means is 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 are in the commercial of earning profits, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having a skilled lawyer on your own side becomes essential.