If the other driver is responsible for your vehicle 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 experienced 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, whenever a case makes it to court). But simply how much can you need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her services in a reasonably 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 battle a personal injury case. A contingency fee means 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 can get paid a percentage of money received from any car insurance settlement or jury verdict (if the case goes all how you can trial).
In this article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and that which you can expect if you determine to hire a lawyer to handle your vehicle 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 vehicle accident case, your attorney will receive around $30,000.
A contingency fee percentage may vary according to whether an individual injury lawsuit needs to be filed against the other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it would go to court, the percentage may be on the reduced side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and after 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 instance, 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 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 the law in your state) allows the attorney to receive 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is always vital that you speak with your attorney concerning 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 explain it to you.
Also, the same as everything in an agreement, the fee is negotiable. If yours is really a "cut and dry" case—fault for the automobile 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 less contingency percentage. You do not need to stop a third of your compensation mainly because you'll need the leverage of experiencing a lawyer in your side.
Fees and Expenses
With regards to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you could or may 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 cover the above-mentioned fees while they become due. If your contract states that you are in charge of these costs, you are able to expect an individual injury firm to call you and seek payment since the fees become due. If you fail to pay these fees, your case will probably 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 soon 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 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 costs and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You would find yourself receiving $60,000 as your final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee out 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 increase their pay by taking their money out first. Let them understand that you won't accept that, and if it becomes a deal breaker, it's probably best to get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not all cases calls for a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect a preliminary retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee at the conclusion of your case. However, if you recover money, the amount already paid to the attorney must be subtracted from the percentage because of the attorney at the conclusion of the case. As an example, 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 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 in fact the legal representation is limited to drafting and responding to a demand letter. In that case, the fee may range between $300 to $1,000.
Is a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The overall rule is this: The more serious the injuries, the higher the worth of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a small fender bender with little or no 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. What this means is the insurance adjuster works to minimize your damages and try to get you to accept a really low settlement offer—they are in the commercial of earning money, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having an experienced lawyer in your side becomes essential.