If another driver is to blame for your vehicle accident, you'll probably be able to hire a personal injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Discover when it's worth the cost.
If you've been in a vehicle accident, and it's pretty clear that another driver was to blame, you'll be buying a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents anyone filing a personal injury lawsuit, whenever a case makes it to court). But just how much are you going to 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 many firms charge in other types of cases. The conventional car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to battle an injury case. A contingency fee implies that the firm will not receive money any attorney's fees if you don't recover cash in your case. The lawyer or law firm will get paid a share of money received from any car insurance settlement or jury verdict (if the case goes all the way to trial).
In this short article, we'll have a closer look at how contingency fees work and everything you can expect if you choose to hire a lawyer to take care of 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 depending on whether a personal injury lawsuit needs to be filed against another 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 after 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.
For instance, 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 example, 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 receive 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this example, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is always crucial that you speak together with your attorney concerning the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you do not understand the fee arrangement as mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to spell out it to you.
Also, the same as everything in a contract, the fee is negotiable. If yours is a "cut and dry" case—fault for the car 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 diminished contingency percentage. You never need to stop a third of one's compensation mainly because you'll 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 lead to 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 for the above-mentioned fees because they become due. If your contract states that you're in charge of these costs, you can expect a personal injury firm to call you and seek payment as the fees become due. If you cannot 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 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 example, your attorney would receive $10,000 as reimbursement for the costs and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You would wind up receiving $60,000 as your final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Make sure that your lawyer takes their fee out of the "net settlement"—that's, the quantity 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 deal breaker, it's probably best to locate another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not totally all cases will involve a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an initial retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee by the end of one's case. However, if you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney should really be subtracted from the percentage due to the attorney by the end 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 an appartment fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are usually 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. Because case, the fee may range between $300 to $1,000.
Is just a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The general rule is this: The more serious the injuries, the higher the worthiness of hiring a lawyer. If you were in a fender bender with little or no injuries, you can probably negotiate a personal injury settlement without a lawyer. On another hand, if you were injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worthiness of one's case rises quickly. This means the insurance adjuster works to minimize your damages and try to get you to simply accept a really low settlement offer—they're in the commercial of making money, not spending it, after all. Because situation, having an experienced lawyer in your side becomes essential.