If the other driver is at fault for your car accident, you'll probably be able to hire an individual injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Discover when it's worth the cost.
If you've experienced an auto accident, and it's pretty clear that the other driver was at fault, you will be buying a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the person filing an individual injury lawsuit, whenever a case causes it to be to court). But just how much are you going to need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge for their services in a reasonably unique way—rather than the hourly fee that numerous firms charge in other forms 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 won't receive money any attorney's fees until you recover money in your case. The lawyer or law firm can get paid a portion 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 what you can expect if you decide to hire a lawyer to handle your car 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 car accident case, your attorney will receive around $30,000.
A contingency fee percentage can vary depending on whether an individual injury lawsuit needs to be filed against the other 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 after 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 the other 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 the law in your state) allows the attorney to get 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely crucial that you speak 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 previously mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to spell out it to you.
Also, the same as everything in an agreement, the fee is negotiable. If yours is really 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 less contingency percentage. You never need to quit a third of one's 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 might or might not be responsible for 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 as they become due. If your contract states that you will be responsible 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 probably 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 soon be deducted from your settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your car 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 wind up receiving $60,000 as one last recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee from the "net settlement"—that is, 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 an offer breaker, it's probably best to get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not totally all cases calls for a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an initial retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee by the end of one's 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 by 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 a flat fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are usually reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a flat 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 range from $300 to $1,000.
Is just a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The typical rule is this: The more severe the injuries, the more the worth of hiring a lawyer. If you were in a minor fender bender with little if any injuries, you are able to probably negotiate an individual injury settlement with no lawyer. On the other hand, if you were injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worth of one's case rises quickly. This means the insurance adjuster works to minimize your damages and try to have you to accept a suprisingly low settlement offer—they are available of earning money, not spending it, after all. For the reason that situation, having an experienced lawyer in your side becomes essential.