If one other driver is responsible for your car accident, you'll probably be able to hire a personal injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Find out when it's worth the cost.
If you've been in an auto accident, and it's pretty clear that one other driver was responsible, you'll be buying a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the person filing a personal injury lawsuit, each time a case helps it be to court). But how much are you going to need to pay for?
Most car accident attorneys charge due to their services in a fairly unique way—instead of the hourly fee that numerous firms charge in other forms of cases. The typical car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to defend myself against a personal injury case. A contingency fee ensures that the firm will not get paid any attorney's fees if you don't recover money 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 the way to trial).
In this short article, we'll have a closer look at how contingency fees work and that which you can get if you choose to hire a lawyer to deal with 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, when you yourself 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 based on whether a personal injury lawsuit has to be filed against one other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it visits court, the percentage may be on the lower side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and after 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 one 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 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 vital that you speak 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 stated in the contract, ask your attorney to describe it to you.
Also, just like everything in an agreement, 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 a lot of car insurance, and there's ample evidence copying your claims—you can certainly negotiate less contingency percentage. You don't need to give up a next of your compensation mainly because you will need the leverage of having a lawyer in your side.
Fees and Expenses
Depending on the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you could or may not be responsible for 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 for the above-mentioned fees as they become due. If your contract states that you will be responsible for these costs, you can expect a personal injury firm to call you and seek payment while the fees become due. If you fail to pay these fees, your case will probably 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 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 wind up receiving $60,000 as a final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee out of the "net settlement"—that is, 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 realize that you won't accept that, and when it becomes an offer breaker, it's probably best to get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not all cases will involve a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an original retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee by the end of your case. However, if you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney should really be subtracted from the percentage as a result of attorney by the end 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 will not involve a flat fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are typically reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a flat fee where in fact the legal representation is limited to drafting and answering a demand letter. For the reason that case, the fee may range 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 higher the worth of hiring a lawyer. If you had been in a fender bender with minimum injuries, you can probably negotiate a personal injury settlement without a lawyer. On one other hand, if you had been injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worth of your case rises quickly. What this means is the insurance adjuster works to minimize your damages and try to obtain you to simply accept a very low settlement offer—they are available of earning profits, not spending it, after all. For the reason that situation, having an experienced lawyer in your side becomes essential.