If one other driver is to blame 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 held it's place in a vehicle accident, and it's pretty clear that one other driver was to blame, you will end up buying plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the person filing a personal injury lawsuit, each time a case makes it to court). But how much are you going to need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her services in a fairly unique way—rather than the hourly fee that many firms charge in other forms of cases. The typical car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to take on an accident case. A contingency fee means that the firm will not get paid any attorney's fees unless you 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 best way to trial).
In this short article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and everything you can get if you determine to hire a lawyer to take care of your vehicle 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, if 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 may vary based on whether a personal injury lawsuit has to be filed against one other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it goes 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 formal response 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 instance, 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 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 following the complaint is answered. In this case, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely crucial that you speak along with your attorney concerning the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you do not understand the fee arrangement as previously mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to spell out it to you.
Also, just like everything in an agreement, the fee is negotiable. If yours is really 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 do not need to stop a third of one's compensation simply because you will need the leverage of having a lawyer on your side.
Fees and Expenses
With regards to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you could 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 cover the above-mentioned fees as 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 while the fees become due. If you fail to pay these fees, your case will probably 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 will soon be deducted from your settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your vehicle 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 case, your attorney would receive $10,000 as reimbursement for the costs and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You would find yourself receiving $60,000 as one last recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee out from the "net settlement"—that is, 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 if it becomes a deal breaker, it's probably best to locate another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not absolutely all cases will involve a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an original retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee at the end of one's case. However, in the event that you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney should really be subtracted from the percentage as a result of attorney at the end of the case. For instance, 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 generally 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 just a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The typical rule is this: The much more serious the injuries, the higher the value of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a fender bender with minimum 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 value of one's case rises quickly. This implies the insurance adjuster will work to minimize your damages and try to obtain you to simply accept a very low settlement offer—they are available of earning money, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having a skilled lawyer on your side becomes essential.