If one other driver is at fault for your vehicle accident, you'll probably have the ability to hire a personal 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 one other driver was at fault, you'll 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 simply how much can you need to cover?
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 types 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 will not get paid any attorney's fees if you don't recover money into your case. The lawyer or law firm can 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 have a closer look at how contingency fees work and what you can expect if you determine to hire a lawyer to handle your vehicle 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 have a 33% contingency fee arrangement and you recover $90,000 in your vehicle accident case, your attorney will receive around $30,000.
A contingency fee percentage can vary greatly based on whether a personal injury lawsuit needs to be filed against one other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it visits court, the percentage may be on the reduced side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and after the defendant has served a formal 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 what the law states 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 along with your attorney about the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you may not understand the fee arrangement as previously mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to describe it to you.
Also, the same as everything in an agreement, the fee is negotiable. If yours is a "cut and dry" case—fault for the car accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has a lot of car insurance, and there's ample evidence copying your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lower contingency percentage. You don't need to stop a third of your compensation simply because you will need the leverage of getting a lawyer in your side.
Fees and Expenses
With regards to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you could or might not result in 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 cover the above-mentioned fees as they become due. If your contract states that you will be responsible for these costs, you are able to expect a personal injury firm to call you and seek payment because the fees become due. If you cannot pay these fees, your case will more than 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 will undoubtedly be deducted from your settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your vehicle 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 situation, your attorney would receive $10,000 as reimbursement for the expenses and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You'd find yourself receiving $60,000 as a final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee out 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 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 get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not absolutely all cases calls for a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an original retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee by the end of your case. However, in the event that you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney must be subtracted from the percentage due to the attorney by the end 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 will not involve a flat fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are typically 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. In that case, the fee may range between $300 to $1,000.
Is really a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The typical rule is this: The much more serious the injuries, the more the worth of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a fender bender with little if any injuries, you are able to probably negotiate a personal injury settlement without a lawyer. On one other hand, if you're injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worth of your case rises quickly. This implies the insurance adjuster will continue to work to minimize your damages and try to obtain you to just accept a suprisingly low settlement offer—they are available of earning profits, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having an experienced lawyer in your side becomes essential.