If another driver is to blame for your car accident, you'll probably manage to hire your own injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Discover when it's worth the cost.
If you've experienced a vehicle accident, and it's pretty clear that another driver was to blame, you will be looking for a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the person filing your own injury lawsuit, whenever a case helps it be to court). But simply how much are you going to need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge because of their services in a fairly unique way—as opposed to the hourly fee that many firms charge in other types of cases. The typical car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to take on an injury case. A contingency fee ensures that the firm won't get paid any attorney's fees if you recover money into 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 informative article, we'll have a closer look at how contingency fees work and that which you can expect if you decide to hire a lawyer to handle your car 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, if 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 greatly according to whether your own 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 reduced 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 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 to receive 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is always crucial that you speak along 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 previously mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to describe it to you.
Also, the same as everything in an agreement, the fee is negotiable. If yours is just 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. You don't need to stop a third of your compensation simply because you will need the leverage of having a lawyer in your side.
Fees and Expenses
With regards to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you could or might not result in 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 as they become due. If your contract states that you will be in charge of these costs, you are able to expect your own injury firm to call you and seek payment while the fees become due. If you cannot 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 is going to be deducted from your settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your car 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 expenses and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You would end up receiving $60,000 as one last recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Be sure 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 increase their pay by taking their money out first. Let them know that you won't accept that, and when it becomes a package breaker, it's probably best to get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not 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 your case. However, in the event that you recover money, the total amount already paid to the attorney must certanly be subtracted from the percentage due to the attorney by the end of the case. For instance, 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 set fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are normally reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a set fee where 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 really a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The overall rule is this: The more serious the injuries, the more the worthiness of hiring a lawyer. If you were in a minor fender bender with minimum injuries, you are able to probably negotiate your own injury settlement with out a lawyer. On another hand, if you were 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 have you to simply accept a really low settlement offer—they're available of making money, not spending it, after all. For the reason that situation, having an experienced lawyer in your side becomes essential.