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. Learn when it's worth the cost.
If you've held it's place in a car accident, and it's pretty clear that the other driver was to blame, you will end up buying a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the individual filing an individual injury lawsuit, when a case makes it to court). But just how much are you going to need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her services in a fairly unique way—as opposed to the hourly fee that many firms charge in other types of cases. The conventional car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to take on an accident case. A contingency fee ensures that the firm won't receives a commission any attorney's fees if you recover money into your case. The lawyer or law firm can get paid a share of money received from any car insurance settlement or jury verdict (if the case goes all how you can trial).
In this informative article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and that which you can expect if you choose to hire a lawyer to deal with your vehicle 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, 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 may vary depending on whether an individual injury lawsuit has to be filed against the other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it visits court, the percentage might be on the low side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and after the defendant has served a formal 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 the 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, guess 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 after the complaint is answered. In this case, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely important to speak together with your attorney concerning the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you may not understand the fee arrangement as previously mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to describe it to you.
Also, the same as everything in a contract, the fee is negotiable. If yours is a "cut and dry" case—fault for the car accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has lots of car insurance, and there's ample evidence burning your claims—you can certainly negotiate a lower contingency percentage. You never need to quit a third of your compensation mainly because you'll need the leverage of getting a lawyer in your side.
Fees and Expenses
Depending on the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you may 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 cover the above-mentioned fees because 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 as 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 will undoubtedly be deducted from your own settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your vehicle 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 case, your attorney would receive $10,000 as reimbursement for the costs 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).
Be sure 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 know that you won't accept that, and if it becomes a deal breaker, it's probably best to get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not totally all cases will involve a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect a preliminary retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee at the conclusion of your case. However, in the event that you recover money, the amount already paid to the attorney must be subtracted from the percentage due to the attorney at the conclusion 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 won't involve a flat fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are normally reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a flat fee where in actuality the legal representation is limited to drafting and answering a demand letter. For the reason that case, the fee may range from $300 to $1,000.
Is just a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The general rule is this: The much more serious the injuries, the higher the worthiness of hiring a lawyer. If you were in a small fender bender with little or no injuries, you can probably negotiate an individual injury settlement with no lawyer. On the other hand, if you were injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worthiness of your case rises quickly. This means the insurance adjuster will work to minimize your damages and try to have you to just accept a suprisingly 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.