If another driver is to blame for your vehicle accident, you'll probably have the ability to hire an individual injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Discover when it's worth the cost.
If you've held it's place in a vehicle accident, and it's pretty clear that another driver was to blame, you will end up looking for a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the individual filing an individual injury lawsuit, when a case helps it be to court). But just how much can you need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge due to their services in a reasonably unique way—as opposed to the hourly fee that numerous firms charge in other kinds of cases. The normal car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to battle an accident case. A contingency fee ensures that the firm won't receives a commission any attorney's fees until you recover cash in 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 the way to trial).
In this informative article, we'll have a closer look at how contingency fees work and everything you can expect if you choose to hire a lawyer to deal with your vehicle 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, 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 according to 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 might be on the lower side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and after 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 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, 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 receive 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is obviously vital that you speak along with your attorney about the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you may not understand the fee arrangement as stated in the contract, ask your attorney to spell out it to you.
Also, the same as everything in a contract, the fee is negotiable. If yours is just 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 less contingency percentage. That you don't need to quit a third of your compensation simply because you'll need the leverage of experiencing a lawyer on your side.
Fees and Expenses
With regards 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 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 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 is going to be deducted from your settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your vehicle 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 situation, your attorney would receive $10,000 as reimbursement for the costs and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You'd end up receiving $60,000 as a final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee 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 increase their pay by taking their money out first. Let them realize that you won't accept that, and if it becomes an offer breaker, it's probably best to get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not absolutely all cases calls for a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an initial retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee by the end of your case. However, if you recover money, the amount already paid to the attorney must certanly be subtracted from the percentage because of the attorney by the end of the case. For instance, 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 a flat fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are typically reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a flat fee where the legal representation is limited to drafting and answering a demand letter. Because case, the fee may range from $300 to $1,000.
Is just a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The typical rule is this: The more serious the injuries, the higher the worth of hiring a lawyer. If you had been in a small fender bender with little if any injuries, you can probably negotiate an individual injury settlement with no lawyer. On another hand, if you had been injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worth of your case rises quickly. This means the insurance adjuster works to minimize your damages and try to obtain you to simply accept a very low settlement offer—they are in the commercial of earning money, not spending it, after all. Because situation, having a skilled lawyer on your side becomes essential.