If the other driver is to blame for your car or truck accident, you'll probably have the ability to hire an individual injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Discover when it's worth the cost.
If you've been in a car accident, and it's pretty clear that the other driver was to blame, you will be buying a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the individual filing an individual injury lawsuit, whenever a case makes it to court). But just how much will you need to pay?
Most car accident attorneys charge because of their services in a reasonably unique way—rather than the hourly fee that numerous 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 get paid any attorney's fees if you don't recover cash 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 short article, we'll take 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 car or truck 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, if you have a 33% contingency fee arrangement and you recover $90,000 in your car or truck accident case, your attorney will receive around $30,000.
A contingency fee percentage may vary depending on whether an individual injury lawsuit needs to be filed against the other 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 a proper 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.
For 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 regulations in your state) allows the attorney for 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 along with your attorney concerning the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you don't understand the fee arrangement as mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to describe 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 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 never need to quit a next of one's 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 may not lead to 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 the above-mentioned fees while they become due. If your contract states that you're in charge of these costs, you can expect an individual injury firm to call you and seek payment since the fees become due. If you cannot pay these fees, your case will likely 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 be deducted from your settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your car or truck accident case for $100,000. Now, 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 expense and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You'd find yourself receiving $60,000 as one last recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee out of 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 increase their pay by taking their money out first. Let them realize that you won't accept that, and when it becomes an offer breaker, it's probably best to locate another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not totally all cases calls for a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect a preliminary retainer to start 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 should really be subtracted from the percentage due to 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 normally reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a flat fee where in actuality 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 a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The overall rule is this: The more serious the injuries, the higher the worth of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a fender bender with minimum injuries, you can probably negotiate an individual injury settlement without a lawyer. On the other hand, if you're injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worth of one's case rises quickly. This means the insurance adjuster will continue to work to minimize your damages and try to obtain you to accept a suprisingly 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 in your side becomes essential.