If one other driver is responsible for your vehicle accident, you'll probably have the ability to hire your own injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Learn when it's worth the cost.
If you've been in a car accident, and it's pretty clear that one other driver was responsible, you will end up looking for a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the individual filing your own injury lawsuit, whenever a case makes it to court). But just how much can you need to pay for?
Most car accident attorneys charge because of their services in a reasonably unique way—as opposed to the hourly fee that lots of 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 in to your case. The lawyer or law firm will get paid a portion of money received from any car insurance settlement or jury verdict (if the case goes all the best way to trial).
In this article, we'll have a closer look at how contingency fees work and that which you can get if you decide to hire a lawyer to take care of 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, when 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 according to whether your own injury lawsuit must be filed against one other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it visits 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 reply 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, 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 following the complaint is answered. In this case, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is obviously 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 explain it to you.
Also, exactly like 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 burning your claims—you can certainly negotiate a lesser contingency percentage. You do not need to give up a third of your compensation mainly because you'll need the leverage of getting a lawyer on your side.
Fees and Expenses
Depending on the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you may or may 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 pay for the above-mentioned fees while they become due. If your contract states that you're accountable for these costs, you can expect your own 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 undoubtedly be deducted from your own 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 would 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 expense and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You'd wind 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 is, the 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 realize that you won't accept that, and when it becomes a deal breaker, it's probably best to get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not totally all cases calls for a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an original retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee at the end of your case. However, if you recover money, the amount already paid to the attorney should really be subtracted from the percentage as a result of attorney at the end of the case. Like, 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 an appartment fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are typically reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge an appartment fee where in actuality the legal representation is limited to drafting and responding to a demand letter. For the reason that case, the fee may range from $300 to $1,000.
Is a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The typical rule is this: The more serious the injuries, the more the worthiness of hiring a lawyer. If you had been in a minor fender bender with little if any injuries, you can probably negotiate your own injury settlement without a lawyer. On one other hand, if you had been injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worthiness of your case rises quickly. This means the insurance adjuster will work to minimize your damages and try to get you to accept a very 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 on your side becomes essential.