If one other driver is to blame for your car or truck accident, you'll probably be able to hire your own injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Discover 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 to blame, you will end up looking for a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the individual filing your own injury lawsuit, whenever a case causes it to be to court). But just 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 types of cases. The normal car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to defend myself against a personal injury case. A contingency fee ensures that the firm won't 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 best way to trial).
In this short article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and that which you can expect if you choose to hire a lawyer to deal with your car or truck accident case.
The Contingency Percentage
The percentage 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 or truck accident case, your attorney will receive around $30,000.
A contingency fee percentage may vary based on whether your own injury lawsuit needs to be filed against one other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it would go to court, the percentage might be on the lower 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 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 following the complaint is answered. In this example, 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 don't understand the fee arrangement as previously mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to describe it to you.
Also, the same as everything in a contract, 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 a lot of car insurance, and there's ample evidence backing up your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lowered contingency percentage. You don't need to quit a next of your compensation mainly because you need the leverage of getting 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 result in upfront court fees and other litigation expenses, just 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 as they become due. If your contract states that you are accountable for these costs, you are able to expect your own injury firm to call you and seek payment because the fees become due. If you cannot 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 is going to be deducted from your own 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 example, 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).
Be sure that your lawyer takes their fee out 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 increase their pay by taking their money out first. Let them know that you won't accept that, and if it becomes a package breaker, it's probably best to locate another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not totally all cases will involve a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an initial retainer to begin 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 ought to be subtracted from the percentage as a result of attorney by the end of the case. For instance, 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 generally reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a set fee where 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 just a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The overall rule is this: The more serious the injuries, the greater the worthiness of hiring a lawyer. If you had been in a small fender bender with little if any injuries, you are able to probably negotiate your own injury settlement with no 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 works to minimize your damages and try to obtain you to accept a suprisingly low settlement offer—they're in the commercial of earning profits, not spending it, after all. For the reason that situation, having a skilled lawyer on your own side becomes essential.