If one other driver is responsible for your car or truck accident, you'll probably be able to hire a personal injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Discover when it's worth the cost.
If you've experienced a car accident, and it's pretty clear that one other driver was responsible, you will be buying a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the person filing a personal injury lawsuit, when a case causes it to be to court). But just how much are you going to need to pay?
Most car accident attorneys charge for their services in a reasonably unique way—in place of the hourly fee that numerous firms charge in other types of cases. The normal car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to battle an injury case. A contingency fee implies that the firm won't receive money any attorney's fees unless you recover money into your case. The lawyer or law firm will get paid a percentage 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 get if you decide to hire a lawyer to take care of 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, if 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 depending on whether a personal injury lawsuit must be filed against one other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it would go to court, the percentage might be on the reduced side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and following 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 one 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, guess 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 following the complaint is answered. In this situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is obviously crucial that you 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 stated in the contract, ask your attorney to describe 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 can certainly negotiate a lowered contingency percentage. You never need to stop a next of one's compensation simply because you will need the leverage of experiencing a lawyer on your own side.
Fees and Expenses
With regards to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you might or may not lead to 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 because they become due. If your contract states that you're responsible for these costs, you can expect a personal injury firm to call you and seek payment whilst 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 settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your car or truck accident case for $100,000. This time, your contract stated that costs and expenses would 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'd end up receiving $60,000 as a final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Be sure that your lawyer takes their fee out of the "net settlement"—that is, the total amount 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 know 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 totally 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 should really 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 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 fact 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 a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The overall rule is this: The more serious the injuries, the more the worthiness of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a small fender bender with little if any injuries, you can probably negotiate a personal injury settlement with out a lawyer. On one other hand, if you're injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worthiness of one's case rises quickly. What this means is the insurance adjuster will work to minimize your damages and try to get you to accept a very low settlement offer—they're available of earning profits, not spending it, after all. For the reason that situation, having a skilled lawyer on your own side becomes essential.