If another driver is responsible for your vehicle 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 a vehicle accident, and it's pretty clear that another driver was responsible, you will be looking for a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the person filing a personal injury lawsuit, when a case makes it to court). But how much do you want to need to pay?
Most car accident attorneys charge for 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 battle 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 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 what you can expect if you determine to hire a lawyer to take care of 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 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 can vary based on whether a personal injury lawsuit has to be filed against another driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it goes to court, the percentage might be on the reduced 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.
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, guess 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 for 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this case, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is obviously vital that you speak along with your attorney concerning 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, 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 lots of car insurance, and there's ample evidence copying your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lower contingency percentage. You never need to stop a next of your compensation simply because you'll need the leverage of getting a lawyer in your side.
Fees and Expenses
With respect to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you might or might not result in 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 the above-mentioned fees as they become due. If your contract states that you will be accountable for these costs, you are able to expect a personal injury firm to call you and seek payment since the fees become due. If you fail to pay these fees, your case will likely 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 be deducted from your settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your vehicle accident case for $100,000. Now, your contract stated that costs and expenses would 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 expense and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You'd end up receiving $60,000 as your final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Be sure that your lawyer takes their fee from 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 know that you won't accept that, and when it becomes a package breaker, it's probably best to get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not absolutely all cases will involve a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an initial retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee by the end 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 because of the attorney by 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 the legal representation is limited to drafting and answering a demand letter. For the reason that case, the fee may vary from $300 to $1,000.
Is really a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The overall rule is this: The much more serious the injuries, the higher the worthiness of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a minor fender bender with little or no injuries, you are able to probably negotiate a personal injury settlement with out a lawyer. On another hand, if you're injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worthiness of your case rises quickly. This means the insurance adjuster will work to minimize your damages and try to have you to just accept a very low settlement offer—they're in the business of earning profits, not spending it, after all. For the reason that situation, having a skilled lawyer in your side becomes essential.