If another driver is responsible for your vehicle accident, you'll probably manage to hire an individual injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Discover when it's worth the cost.
If you've been in a car accident, and it's pretty clear that another driver was responsible, you will end up buying plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents anyone filing an individual injury lawsuit, each time a case makes it to court). But simply how much will you need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her services in a reasonably unique way—rather than the hourly fee that lots of firms charge in other kinds of cases. The normal car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to battle an injury case. A contingency fee means that the firm will not receives a commission any attorney's fees unless you 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 how you can trial).
In this short article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and what you can get if you determine to hire a lawyer to handle 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 can vary greatly according to whether an individual injury lawsuit has to be filed against another driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it visits court, the percentage might 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 obviously vital that you speak together with your attorney concerning the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you don't understand the fee arrangement as previously mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to explain 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 burning your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lesser contingency percentage. You don't need to stop a third of your compensation simply because you need the leverage of experiencing a lawyer in your side.
Fees and Expenses
Depending on the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you may or might 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 cover the above-mentioned fees while they become due. If your contract states that you are accountable for these costs, you are able to expect an individual injury firm to call you and seek payment while the fees become due. If you fail to pay these fees, your case will 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 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 will 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'd end up receiving $60,000 as one last recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee out of 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 if it becomes a deal breaker, it's probably best to locate another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not totally all cases will involve a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an initial retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee at the conclusion of your case. However, if you recover money, the total amount already paid to the attorney should be subtracted from the percentage due to the attorney at the conclusion 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 will not 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 in fact the legal representation is limited to drafting and responding to 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 more the worth of hiring a lawyer. If you had been in a minor fender bender with minimum injuries, you are able to probably negotiate an individual injury settlement without a 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 will work to minimize your damages and try to have you to accept a really low settlement offer—they are in the business of making money, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having a skilled lawyer in your side becomes essential.