If the other driver is at fault for your car or truck accident, you'll probably be able to hire an individual injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Learn when it's worth the cost.
If you've been in a vehicle accident, and it's pretty clear that the other driver was at fault, you'll be looking for a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the person filing an individual injury lawsuit, each time a case helps it be to court). But just how much can you need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge for their services in a fairly 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 take on an accident case. A contingency fee ensures that the firm won't receives a commission any attorney's fees unless you recover money into your case. The lawyer or law firm are certain to 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 information, we'll have a closer look at how contingency fees work and what you can get if you decide 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 greatly according to whether an individual injury lawsuit needs to be filed against the other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it would go to court, the percentage might be on the low side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and following the defendant has served a formal 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 what the law states in your state) allows the attorney for 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this situation, 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 may not understand the fee arrangement as previously mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to explain it to you.
Also, exactly like everything in a contract, the fee is negotiable. If yours is just a "cut and dry" case—fault for the vehicle accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has a lot of car insurance, and there's ample evidence backing up your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lesser contingency percentage. That you don't need to give up a third of your compensation mainly because you need the leverage of having a lawyer on your own side.
Fees and Expenses
Depending on the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you might 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 cover the above-mentioned fees while they become due. If your contract states that you will be in charge of these costs, you are able to expect an individual 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 undoubtedly be deducted from your own settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your car or truck accident case for $100,000. This time, 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 would find yourself receiving $60,000 as a final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Be sure that your lawyer takes their fee from the "net settlement"—that is, the quantity 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 if it becomes an offer breaker, it's probably best to get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not absolutely all cases will involve a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an original retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee at the conclusion of your case. However, if you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney must be subtracted from the percentage due to the attorney at the conclusion of the case. As an 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 won't 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 answering a demand letter. Because 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 severe the injuries, the higher the value of hiring a lawyer. If you had been in a fender bender with minimum injuries, you are able to probably negotiate an individual injury settlement with out a lawyer. On the other hand, if you had been injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the value 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 very low settlement offer—they are in the commercial of earning profits, not spending it, after all. Because situation, having a skilled lawyer on your own side becomes essential.