If another driver is to blame for your vehicle accident, you'll probably be able to hire an individual injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Find out when it's worth the cost.
If you've been in an auto accident, and it's pretty clear that another driver was to blame, you will be buying plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents anyone filing an individual injury lawsuit, whenever a case helps it be to court). But simply how much are you going to need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her services in a fairly unique way—rather than the hourly fee that lots of firms charge in other kinds of cases. The conventional car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to battle a personal injury case. A contingency fee ensures that the firm won't receive money any attorney's fees if you don't recover cash in your case. The lawyer or law firm will 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 determine to hire a lawyer to deal with 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, 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 may vary depending on whether an individual injury lawsuit has to be filed against another driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it would go to court, the percentage may be on the low 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.
For 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 important to speak together 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 describe 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 automobile 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 a lowered contingency percentage. You don't need to stop a next of your compensation mainly because you 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 could 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 cover the above-mentioned fees because they become due. If your contract states that you will be responsible for these costs, you can expect an individual injury firm to call you and seek payment since the fees become due. If you cannot 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 undoubtedly be deducted from your own 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 case, your attorney would receive $10,000 as reimbursement for the costs 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).
Make sure that your lawyer takes their fee from the "net settlement"—that is, the quantity 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 realize that you won't accept that, and if it becomes an offer breaker, it's probably best to locate another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not absolutely all cases calls for a natural 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, in the event that you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney should be subtracted from the percentage due to the attorney at the conclusion of the case. As an 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 usually reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a set fee where in actuality the legal representation is limited to drafting and giving an answer to a demand letter. For the reason that case, the fee may range between $300 to $1,000.
Is just a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The overall rule is this: The more serious the injuries, the higher the value of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a fender bender with little if any injuries, you can probably negotiate an individual injury settlement without a lawyer. On another hand, if you're injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the value of your case rises quickly. This implies the insurance adjuster will continue to work to minimize your damages and try to get you to accept a very low settlement offer—they're in the commercial of making money, not spending it, after all. For the reason that situation, having a skilled lawyer on your side becomes essential.