If the other driver is to blame for your car or truck accident, you'll probably manage to hire a personal injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Discover when it's worth the cost.
If you've held it's place in an auto accident, and it's pretty clear that the other driver was to blame, you will end up buying plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the person filing a personal injury lawsuit, when a case helps it be to court). But how much can you need to pay?
Most car accident attorneys charge because of their services in a reasonably unique way—instead of the hourly fee that many firms charge in other types of cases. The normal car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to defend myself against an injury case. A contingency fee implies that the firm will not receives a commission any attorney's fees unless you 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 information, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and everything you can expect if you determine to hire a lawyer to handle your car or truck 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 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 can vary depending on whether a personal injury lawsuit has to be filed against the other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it goes to court, the percentage might be on the lower side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and after 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 the other 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 get 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this example, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely vital 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 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 vehicle accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has plenty of car insurance, and there's ample evidence burning your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a diminished contingency percentage. That you don't need to quit a next of your compensation simply because you'll need the leverage of getting a lawyer in your side.
Fees and Expenses
With respect to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you could or may 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 the above-mentioned fees as they become due. If your contract states that you're responsible for these costs, you are able to expect a personal injury firm to call you and seek payment whilst 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 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 example, your attorney would receive $10,000 as reimbursement for the expense 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).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee out from the "net settlement"—that's, the quantity left after case expenses are deducted. This arrangement is typical. However, some law firms may try to boost 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 get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not all cases calls for a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect a preliminary retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee at the end of your case. However, if you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney should really be subtracted from the percentage because of the attorney at the end of the case. For example, 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 a set fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are typically reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a set fee where the legal representation is limited to drafting and responding to a demand letter. In that case, the fee may range from $300 to $1,000.
Is just a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The overall rule is this: The more severe 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 a personal injury settlement with no lawyer. On the other hand, if you were injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worthiness of your case rises quickly. What this means is the insurance adjuster will work to minimize your damages and try to obtain you to accept a suprisingly low settlement offer—they are in the business of earning profits, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having an experienced lawyer in your side becomes essential.