If the other driver is responsible for your car accident, you'll probably have the ability to hire a personal injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Find out when it's worth the cost.
If you've held it's place in a car accident, and it's pretty clear that the other driver was responsible, you will end up buying a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the person filing a personal injury lawsuit, when a case makes it to court). But simply how much are you going to need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge because of their services in a reasonably unique way—rather than the hourly fee that many firms charge in other kinds of cases. The normal car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to take on an injury case. A contingency fee means that the firm won't receive money any attorney's fees until you recover money into your case. The lawyer or law firm are certain to get paid a share of money received from any car insurance settlement or jury verdict (if the case goes all how you can 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 take care of your car 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 yourself have a 33% contingency fee arrangement and you recover $90,000 in your car accident case, your attorney will receive around $30,000.
A contingency fee percentage can vary according to whether a personal injury lawsuit must be filed against the 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 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 the other 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, suppose 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 to receive 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this case, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is always very important to speak 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 spell out it to you.
Also, just like everything in a contract, the fee is negotiable. If yours is really a "cut and dry" case—fault for the vehicle accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has a lot of car insurance, and there's ample evidence copying your claims—you can certainly negotiate a lower contingency percentage. That you don't need to stop a next of one's compensation simply because you will 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 may or may 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 cover the above-mentioned fees because they become due. If your contract states that you are accountable for these costs, you can expect a personal injury firm to call you and seek payment while the fees become due. If you fail to pay these fees, your case will probably 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 car 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 expenses 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).
Make sure that your lawyer takes their fee 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 improve their pay by taking their money out first. Let them understand that you won't accept that, and when it becomes a package breaker, it's probably best to find another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not all cases will involve a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an original retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee at the conclusion of one's case. However, if you recover money, the amount already paid to the attorney ought to be subtracted from the percentage as a result of 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 won't involve a flat fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are usually reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a flat fee where in actuality the legal representation is limited to drafting and answering a demand letter. Because case, the fee may range from $300 to $1,000.
Is a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The general rule is this: The more serious the injuries, the higher the value of hiring a lawyer. If you were in a small fender bender with minimum injuries, you can probably negotiate a personal 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. What this means is the insurance adjuster will continue to work to minimize your damages and try to obtain you to simply accept a very low settlement offer—they are in the commercial of making money, not spending it, after all. Because situation, having an experienced lawyer on your own side becomes essential.