If the other driver is to blame 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 to blame, you will end up buying a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents anyone filing a personal injury lawsuit, when a case makes it to court). But how much do you want to need to pay?
Most car accident attorneys charge due to their services in a reasonably unique way—instead of the hourly fee that numerous firms charge in other kinds of cases. The typical car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to battle an accident case. A contingency fee ensures that the firm won't get paid any attorney's fees if you recover cash 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 best way to trial).
In this informative article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and everything you can expect 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 can vary depending on whether a personal injury lawsuit has to be filed against the other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it visits court, the percentage may be on the lower 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 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 get 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this case, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is obviously vital that you speak with your attorney about 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, the same as everything in a contract, the fee is negotiable. If yours is just 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 copying your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lower contingency percentage. That you don't need to give up a third of your compensation simply because you'll need the leverage of having a lawyer in your side.
Fees and Expenses
With respect to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you may or might 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 pay the above-mentioned fees because they become due. If your contract states that you're in charge of these costs, you are able to expect a personal injury firm to call you and seek payment whilst the fees become due. If you fail to pay these fees, your case will probably 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 will be deducted from your own settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your car 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 case, 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 from 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 improve their pay by taking their money out first. Let them understand that you won't accept that, and when it becomes a deal breaker, it's probably best to find another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not totally all cases calls for a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect a preliminary retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee by the end of your case. However, if you recover money, the total amount already paid to the attorney should be subtracted from the percentage as a result of attorney by the end 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 typically reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge an appartment fee where in fact the legal representation is limited to drafting and answering a demand letter. For the reason that case, the fee may vary from $300 to $1,000.
Is a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The overall rule is this: The more serious the injuries, the higher the worth of hiring a lawyer. If you were in a small fender bender with little or no injuries, you are able to probably negotiate a personal injury settlement with no lawyer. On the other hand, if you were injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worth of your case rises quickly. This means the insurance adjuster will work to minimize your damages and try to get you to just accept a really low settlement offer—they're available of earning money, not spending it, after all. For the reason that situation, having a skilled lawyer in your side becomes essential.