If the other driver is responsible for your vehicle 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 been in a car accident, and it's pretty clear that the other driver was responsible, you will end up buying plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents anyone filing a personal injury lawsuit, whenever a case helps it be to court). But how much do you want to need to pay for?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her services in a reasonably unique way—as opposed to the hourly fee that lots of firms charge in other kinds of cases. The typical car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to defend myself against an accident case. A contingency fee implies that the firm will not receive money any attorney's fees if you recover money in to your case. The lawyer or law firm will get paid a portion of money received from any car insurance settlement or jury verdict (if the case goes all the way to trial).
In this information, we'll have a closer look at how contingency fees work and that which you can expect if you determine to hire a lawyer to handle 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, when 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 a personal injury lawsuit has to be filed against the other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it goes to court, the percentage may be on the reduced side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and after the defendant has served a proper 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.
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, 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 get 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this example, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely crucial 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 stated in the contract, ask your attorney to describe it to you.
Also, just like everything in an agreement, the fee is negotiable. If yours is just 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 copying your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lowered contingency percentage. You do not need to quit a third of your compensation mainly because you'll 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 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 pay for the above-mentioned fees because they become due. If your contract states that you are responsible for these costs, you are able to expect a personal injury firm to call you and seek payment whilst the fees become due. If you cannot pay these fees, your case will 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 will 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 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 expense 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).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee from 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 boost their pay by taking their money out first. Let them understand that you won't accept that, and when it becomes a package breaker, it's probably best to find another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not absolutely all cases will involve a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an initial retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee at the end of your case. However, in the event that you recover money, the total amount already paid to the attorney must be subtracted from the percentage because of the attorney at the end 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 will not involve a set fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are generally reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a set fee where the legal representation is limited to drafting and responding to a demand letter. For the reason that case, the fee may range between $300 to $1,000.
Is a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The overall rule is this: The much more serious the injuries, the greater the worth of hiring a lawyer. If you had been in a minor fender bender with minimum injuries, you are able to probably negotiate a personal injury settlement without a lawyer. On the 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 works to minimize your damages and try to obtain you to just accept a very low settlement offer—they're in the commercial of making money, not spending it, after all. For the reason that situation, having an experienced lawyer in your side becomes essential.