If another 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 experienced a car accident, and it's pretty clear that another driver was at fault, you will end up looking for 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 are you going to need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her services in a reasonably unique way—as opposed to the hourly fee that numerous firms charge in other kinds 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 receives a commission any attorney's fees unless 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 how you can trial).
In this short article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and that which you can expect if you determine to hire a lawyer to deal with 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, 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 may vary depending on whether an individual injury lawsuit must be filed against another driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it visits court, the percentage might be on the reduced 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.
As an example, 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 case, 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 to get 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this case, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is obviously vital that you speak together with your attorney about the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you may not understand the fee arrangement as mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to describe it to you.
Also, just like 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 a lot of car insurance, and there's ample evidence backing up your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lesser contingency percentage. You don't need to quit a third of one's compensation mainly because you need the leverage of getting a lawyer on your own side.
Fees and Expenses
With respect to 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 because they become due. If your contract states that you will be accountable for these costs, you are able to 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 undoubtedly 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 will be deducted from the settlement. Your attorney incurred $10,000 in costs and expenses. In this case, your attorney would receive $10,000 as reimbursement for the costs and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You'd 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 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 improve their pay by taking their money out first. Let them understand that you won't accept that, and if it becomes a package 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 original retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee at the end of one's case. However, in the event that you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney ought to be subtracted from the percentage as a result of attorney at 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 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 in fact the legal representation is limited to drafting and giving an answer to a demand letter. In that case, the fee may vary from $300 to $1,000.
Is just a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The typical rule is this: The more severe the injuries, the more the worth of hiring a lawyer. If you had been in a small fender bender with little if any injuries, you are able to probably negotiate an individual injury settlement without a lawyer. On another hand, if you had been injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worth of one's case rises quickly. This means the insurance adjuster works to minimize your damages and try to get you to accept a really low settlement offer—they're in the business of making money, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having a skilled lawyer on your own side becomes essential.