If one other driver is at fault for your vehicle accident, you'll probably be able to hire your own injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Find out when it's worth the cost.
If you've experienced a vehicle 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 anyone filing your own injury lawsuit, when a case makes it to court). But simply how much do you want to need to pay?
Most car accident attorneys charge because of their services in a fairly unique way—rather than the hourly fee that many firms charge in other forms of cases. The normal car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to take on an accident case. A contingency fee implies that the firm won't receive money any attorney's fees until you recover money in your case. The lawyer or law firm are certain to get paid a portion of money received from any car insurance settlement or jury verdict (if the case goes all how you can trial).
In this informative article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and everything you can expect if you choose to hire a lawyer to deal with your vehicle accident case.
The Contingency Percentage
The percentage that the 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 vehicle accident case, your attorney will receive around $30,000.
A contingency fee percentage may vary depending on whether your own injury lawsuit must be filed against one 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 formal reply 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 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 what the law states in your state) allows the attorney to get 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely very important to speak together 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 stated in the contract, ask your attorney to spell out it to you.
Also, the same as everything in an agreement, the fee is negotiable. If yours is 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 can certainly negotiate less contingency percentage. You do not need to give up a next of one's compensation simply because you'll need the leverage of getting a lawyer on your side.
Fees and Expenses
With regards to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you might or might not result in 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 pay the above-mentioned fees because they become due. If your contract states that you are in charge of these costs, you can expect your own 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 vehicle accident case for $100,000. This time around, 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 expenses and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You would wind up receiving $60,000 as a final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee from the "net settlement"—that's, the 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 know that you won't accept that, and if it becomes a deal breaker, it's probably best to find another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not absolutely all cases calls for a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an initial retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee at the end of one's case. However, if you recover money, the amount already paid to the attorney must certanly be subtracted from the percentage due to the attorney at the end 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 won't 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 fact 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 typical rule is this: The more serious the injuries, the more the value of hiring a lawyer. If you had been in a small fender bender with minimum injuries, you can probably negotiate your own injury settlement without a lawyer. On one other hand, if you had been injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the value of one's case rises quickly. This implies the insurance adjuster works to minimize your damages and try to get you to simply accept a really low settlement offer—they are in the commercial of earning money, not spending it, after all. Because situation, having a skilled lawyer on your side becomes essential.