If one other driver is to blame for your car or truck accident, you'll probably manage 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 vehicle accident, and it's pretty clear that one other driver was to blame, you will be buying a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the person filing a personal injury lawsuit, whenever a case helps it be to court). But just how much do you want to need to pay?
Most car accident attorneys charge for their services in a fairly unique way—in place of the hourly fee that many firms charge in other types of cases. The normal 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 don't recover money into your case. The lawyer or law firm can get paid a percentage of money received from any car insurance settlement or jury verdict (if the case goes all the best way to trial).
In this short article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and what you can expect if you decide to hire a lawyer to handle your car or truck 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 or truck accident case, your attorney will receive around $30,000.
A contingency fee percentage can vary according to whether a personal injury lawsuit needs to be filed against one other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it would go to court, the percentage may be on the low side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and following the defendant has served an official 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 one 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 following the complaint is answered. In this case, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely very important to speak 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 stated in the contract, ask your attorney to spell out it to you.
Also, exactly like everything in a contract, the fee is negotiable. If yours is a "cut and dry" case—fault for the automobile 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 lower contingency percentage. That you don't need to stop a third of one's compensation mainly because you'll need the leverage of having a lawyer in your side.
Fees and Expenses
With regards to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you might or may not be responsible for upfront court fees and other litigation expenses, 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 pay the above-mentioned fees as they become due. If your contract states that you're responsible for these costs, you are able to expect a personal injury firm to call you and seek payment since 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 will 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 case, 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 your final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Be sure 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 know 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 totally all cases calls for a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect a preliminary retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee at the end of one's case. However, in the event that you recover money, the total amount already paid to the attorney should be subtracted from the percentage because of the attorney at the end of the case. For 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 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 the legal representation is limited to drafting and giving an answer to a demand letter. For the reason that case, the fee may vary from $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 small fender bender with little if any injuries, you are able to probably negotiate a personal injury settlement without a lawyer. On one other hand, if you had been injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worth of one's case rises quickly. What this means is the insurance adjuster works to minimize your damages and try to get you to accept a suprisingly low settlement offer—they are in the commercial of earning profits, not spending it, after all. For the reason that situation, having an experienced lawyer in your side becomes essential.