If another driver is at fault for your car accident, you'll probably be able to hire an individual injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Learn when it's worth the cost.
If you've held it's place in an auto accident, and it's pretty clear that another driver was at fault, you will end up looking for a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents anyone filing an individual injury lawsuit, whenever a case causes it to be to court). But how much can you need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her services in a fairly unique way—in place of the hourly fee that lots of firms charge in other forms of cases. The typical car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to defend myself against a personal injury case. A contingency fee implies that the firm won't receives a commission any attorney's fees if you recover money in 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 best way to trial).
In this informative article, we'll have a closer look at how contingency fees work and everything you can get if you determine to hire a lawyer to take care of your car accident case.
The Contingency Percentage
The percentage 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 accident case, your attorney will receive around $30,000.
A contingency fee percentage can vary greatly based on whether an individual injury lawsuit has to be filed against another driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it would go to court, the percentage may be on the reduced side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and following the defendant has served a conventional answer 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 situation, 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 regulations in your state) allows the attorney for 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is always important to speak along with your attorney in regards to the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you may not understand the fee arrangement as mentioned 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 a diminished 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 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, 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 cover the above-mentioned fees while they become due. If your contract states that you're responsible for these costs, you can 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 more than 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 car accident case for $100,000. This time, your contract stated that costs and expenses could be deducted from the settlement. Your attorney incurred $10,000 in costs and expenses. In this situation, your attorney would receive $10,000 as reimbursement for the expense 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).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee out 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 realize that you won't accept that, and when it becomes a deal breaker, it's probably best to locate another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not 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 conclusion of your case. However, if you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney ought to be subtracted from the percentage as a result of attorney at the conclusion of the case. As an 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 won't 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 fact the legal representation is limited to drafting and answering a demand letter. In that case, the fee may vary from $300 to $1,000.
Is really a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The general rule is this: The more serious the injuries, the greater the worthiness of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a fender bender with little if any injuries, you can probably negotiate an individual injury settlement with out a lawyer. On another hand, if you're injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worthiness of your case rises quickly. What this means is the insurance adjuster will work to minimize your damages and try to get you to just accept a very low settlement offer—they're in the commercial of earning money, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having a skilled lawyer on your side becomes essential.