If the other driver is at fault for your car or truck accident, you'll probably have the ability to hire your own injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Find out when it's worth the cost.
If you've been in a car accident, and it's pretty clear that the other driver was at fault, you will be buying a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the person filing your own injury lawsuit, each time a case causes it to be to court). But just how much can you need to pay?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her services in a reasonably unique way—in place of the hourly fee that many firms charge in other kinds of cases. The conventional car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to defend myself against a personal injury case. A contingency fee means that the firm won't receives a commission any attorney's fees until you recover money in to 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 the way to trial).
In this short article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and everything you can get if you decide 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, when you yourself 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 can vary depending on whether your own injury lawsuit must be filed against the other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it visits court, the percentage might be on the lower 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.
As an example, 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 example, 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 example, 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 may not understand the fee arrangement as previously mentioned 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 just 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 copying your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lower contingency percentage. That you don't need to quit a third 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 may or might not be responsible for 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 while they become due. If your contract states that you're responsible for these costs, you are able to 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 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 soon be deducted from your settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your car or truck 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 example, your attorney would receive $10,000 as reimbursement for the expenses and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You'd 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 of the "net settlement"—that's, the total amount left after case expenses are deducted. This arrangement is typical. However, some law firms may try to improve their pay by taking their money out first. Let them understand that you won't accept that, and if it becomes a package breaker, it's probably best to get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not all cases will involve a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect a preliminary retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee at the conclusion of one's case. However, in the event that you recover money, the total amount already paid to the attorney ought to be subtracted from the percentage because of 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 an appartment fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are generally reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge an appartment fee where the legal representation is limited to drafting and answering a demand letter. In that case, the fee may vary from $300 to $1,000.
Is a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The general rule is this: The more severe the injuries, the more the value of hiring a lawyer. If you were in a small fender bender with minimum injuries, you are able to probably negotiate your own injury settlement with no lawyer. On the other hand, if you were injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the value of one's case rises quickly. This implies the insurance adjuster will continue to work to minimize your damages and try to have you to accept a very low settlement offer—they are in the business of earning money, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having an experienced lawyer on your side becomes essential.