If the 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. Learn when it's worth the cost.
If you've been in an auto accident, and it's pretty clear that the 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, each time a case helps it be to court). But simply how much will you need to pay?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her services in a reasonably unique way—rather than the hourly fee that lots of firms charge in other forms of cases. The typical 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 until you recover cash 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 way to trial).
In this short article, we'll have a closer look at how contingency fees work and everything you can expect if you choose to hire a lawyer to take care of your car or truck 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 car or truck accident case, your attorney will receive around $30,000.
A contingency fee percentage can vary greatly depending on whether your own injury lawsuit needs to be filed against the other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it would go to court, the percentage might be on the low side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and after the defendant has served a proper reply 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 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 regulations 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 obviously crucial that you speak together with your attorney in regards to the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you may not understand the fee arrangement as stated in the contract, ask your attorney to explain it to you.
Also, the same as everything in a contract, the fee is negotiable. If yours is just a "cut and dry" case—fault for the car accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has plenty of car insurance, and there's ample evidence backing up your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lower contingency percentage. That you do not need to give up a next of one's compensation mainly because you need the leverage of getting a lawyer on your side.
Fees and Expenses
Depending on the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you might or may not be responsible for upfront court fees and other litigation expenses, 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 because 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 while the fees become due. If you cannot pay these fees, your case will more than 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 is likely 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 around, your contract stated that costs and expenses will 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 expenses and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You would 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 from the "net settlement"—that's, 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 a package breaker, it's probably best to locate another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not all cases calls for a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an initial 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 quantity already paid to the attorney should be subtracted from the percentage because of the attorney at the conclusion of the case. For 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 typically reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a set fee where in fact the legal representation is limited to drafting and answering a demand letter. Because 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 much more serious the injuries, the more the worthiness of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a fender bender with little if any injuries, you are able to probably negotiate your own injury settlement with no lawyer. On the other hand, if you're injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worthiness of one's case rises quickly. This implies the insurance adjuster works to minimize your damages and try to obtain you to simply accept a really low settlement offer—they are in the business of making money, not spending it, after all. Because situation, having a skilled lawyer on your side becomes essential.