If another driver is responsible for your car accident, you'll probably manage to hire an individual injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Learn when it's worth the cost.
If you've experienced a vehicle accident, and it's pretty clear that another driver was responsible, you will end up looking for a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the individual filing an individual injury lawsuit, when a case makes it to court). But how much are you going to need to pay?
Most car accident attorneys charge because of their services in a fairly unique way—in place of the hourly fee that numerous firms charge in other kinds of cases. The conventional car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to battle an accident case. A contingency fee means that the firm won't get paid any attorney's fees if you don't recover money in 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 way to trial).
In this information, we'll have a closer look at how contingency fees work and what you can get if you choose to hire a lawyer to deal with your car 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 accident case, your attorney will receive around $30,000.
A contingency fee percentage may vary according to whether an individual injury lawsuit must 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 following the defendant has served a formal 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.
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 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 the law in your state) allows the attorney to get 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this example, 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 don't understand the fee arrangement as previously mentioned 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 a "cut and dry" case—fault for the vehicle accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has plenty of car insurance, and there's ample evidence burning your claims—you can certainly negotiate a diminished contingency percentage. You never need to quit 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 respect to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you may or might 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 as they become due. If your contract states that you are in charge of these costs, you can expect an individual injury firm to call you and seek payment because the fees become due. If you fail to pay these fees, your case will likely not proceed until there is 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 accident case for $100,000. Now, your contract stated that costs and expenses will 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 wind up receiving $60,000 as one last recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Be sure that your lawyer takes their fee out 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 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 all cases will involve a natural 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, if you recover money, the amount already paid to the attorney must certanly be subtracted from the percentage as a result of attorney at the conclusion of the case. For 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 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 in fact the legal representation is limited to drafting and giving an answer to a demand letter. In 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 severe the injuries, the higher the worth of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a small fender bender with little or no 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 worth of one's case rises quickly. What this means is the insurance adjuster will work to minimize your damages and try to have you to just accept a very low settlement offer—they're in the commercial of making money, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having an experienced lawyer on your own side becomes essential.