If the other driver is responsible for your car accident, you'll probably manage to hire an individual injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Discover when it's worth the cost.
If you've been in a vehicle accident, and it's pretty clear that the other driver was responsible, you will end up buying plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents anyone filing an individual injury lawsuit, each time a case helps it be to court). But just how much do you want to need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge because of their services in a reasonably unique way—in place of the hourly fee that lots of firms charge in other kinds of cases. The typical car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to defend myself against an accident case. A contingency fee ensures that the firm will not receives a commission any attorney's fees if you don't recover cash in your case. The lawyer or law firm will 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 information, we'll have a closer look at how contingency fees work and that which you can expect if you determine to hire a lawyer to take care of 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, if you 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 depending on whether an individual injury lawsuit has to be filed against the other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it visits court, the percentage may be on the reduced side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and after the defendant has served a proper 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.
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, 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 after the complaint is answered. In this example, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely vital that you speak with your attorney about the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you do not understand the fee arrangement as stated in the contract, ask your attorney to explain it to you.
Also, the same as everything in an agreement, the fee is negotiable. If yours is just a "cut and dry" case—fault for the car accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has lots of car insurance, and there's ample evidence burning your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lower contingency percentage. That you do not need to quit a third of your compensation mainly because you need the leverage of having a lawyer on your side.
Fees and Expenses
With regards to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you could or may not be responsible for 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're responsible for these costs, you are able to expect an individual injury firm to call you and seek payment while the fees become due. If you fail to pay these fees, your case will more than 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 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 will 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 end up receiving $60,000 as a final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Make sure that your lawyer takes their fee out of the "net settlement"—that is, the total amount 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 when it becomes a deal breaker, it's probably best to get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not totally all cases calls for a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an initial retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee at the conclusion of your case. However, if you recover money, the total amount already paid to the attorney should be subtracted from the percentage due to the attorney at the conclusion of the case. For instance, 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 generally reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a flat fee where in actuality the legal representation is limited to drafting and responding to a demand letter. Because case, the fee may vary from $300 to $1,000.
Is really a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The general rule is this: The much more serious the injuries, the greater the worth of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a fender bender with little if any injuries, you are able to probably negotiate an individual injury settlement with out a lawyer. On the other hand, if you're injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worth of your case rises quickly. This implies the insurance adjuster will continue to work to minimize your damages and try to obtain you to just accept a very low settlement offer—they're in the business of making money, not spending it, after all. Because situation, having a skilled lawyer on your side becomes essential.