If one other driver is at fault for your car or truck accident, you'll probably have the ability to hire a personal injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Learn when it's worth the cost.
If you've held it's place in an auto accident, and it's pretty clear that one other driver was at fault, you will end up buying plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the individual filing a personal injury lawsuit, whenever a case makes it to court). But how much do you want to need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her services in a fairly unique way—rather than the hourly fee that many firms charge in other kinds of cases. The typical car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to battle an accident case. A contingency fee ensures that the firm will not get paid any attorney's fees unless you recover money in to your case. The lawyer or law firm can get paid a percentage of money received from any car insurance settlement or jury verdict (if the case goes all the way to trial).
In this article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and what you can expect if you decide to hire a lawyer to deal with 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 yourself 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 according to whether a personal injury lawsuit must be filed against one other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it goes to court, the percentage may be on the low side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and following the defendant has served an official answer 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 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 regulations 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 crucial that you speak along with your attorney in regards to 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 spell out it to you.
Also, exactly like everything in an agreement, the fee is negotiable. If yours is really a "cut and dry" case—fault for the car 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 lesser contingency percentage. You never need to quit a next of your compensation simply because you'll need the leverage of experiencing 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, 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 cover the above-mentioned fees as they become due. If your contract states that you are responsible for these costs, you are able to 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 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. This time, 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).
Make sure that your lawyer takes their fee out from 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 get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not totally all cases calls for 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, in the event that you recover money, the total amount already paid to the attorney must be subtracted from the percentage as a result of attorney at the conclusion of the case. As an 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 will not involve a flat fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are usually reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a flat fee where in fact the legal representation is limited to drafting and giving an answer to a demand letter. For the reason that case, the fee may vary from $300 to $1,000.
Is a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The general rule is this: The more serious the injuries, the greater the worthiness of hiring a lawyer. If you had been in a minor fender bender with minimum injuries, you are able to 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 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 just accept a suprisingly low settlement offer—they're available of earning money, not spending it, after all. For the reason that situation, having a skilled lawyer on your own side becomes essential.