If another driver is at fault for your vehicle accident, you'll probably be able to hire an individual injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Find out 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 at fault, you'll be buying a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the individual filing an individual injury lawsuit, when a case makes it to court). But how much will you need to pay?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her services in a fairly unique way—rather than the hourly fee that numerous firms charge in other kinds of cases. The conventional car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to defend myself against a personal injury case. A contingency fee implies that the firm won't receives a commission any attorney's fees if you recover money into your case. The lawyer or law firm will 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 get if you choose to hire a lawyer to handle your vehicle accident case.
The Contingency Percentage
The percentage that 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 yourself 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 must be filed against another driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it goes to court, the percentage may be on the low side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and following the defendant has served a formal 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.
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, guess 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 for 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this situation, 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 don't understand the fee arrangement as stated 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 a "cut and dry" case—fault for the automobile accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has lots of car insurance, and there's ample evidence backing up your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lower contingency percentage. That you do not need to stop a third of one's compensation simply because you will need the leverage of having a lawyer on your side.
Fees and Expenses
Depending on 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 while they become due. If your contract states that you are in charge of 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. This time, 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 would end up receiving $60,000 as a final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Be sure that your lawyer takes their fee out 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 improve their pay by taking their money out first. Let them understand that you won't accept that, and if it becomes a package breaker, it's probably best to find another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not all cases will involve a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect a preliminary retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee at the conclusion of one's case. However, in the event that you recover money, the total amount already paid to the attorney should really be subtracted from the percentage because of the attorney at the conclusion 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 won't involve a flat fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are generally reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a flat fee where in fact the legal representation is limited to drafting and answering a demand letter. For the reason that case, the fee may vary from $300 to $1,000.
Is just a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The typical rule is this: The much more serious the injuries, the more the worth of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a fender bender with little if any injuries, you are able to probably negotiate an individual injury settlement with no lawyer. On another hand, if you're injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worth of one's case rises quickly. What this means is the insurance adjuster will continue to work to minimize your damages and try to obtain you to simply accept a really low settlement offer—they are available of earning profits, not spending it, after all. For the reason that situation, having a skilled lawyer on your side becomes essential.