If one other driver is responsible for your vehicle accident, you'll probably manage to hire your own injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Find out 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 responsible, you will be looking for a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents anyone filing your own injury lawsuit, when a case causes it to be to court). But how much do you want to need to pay?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her services in a reasonably unique way—as opposed to the hourly fee that numerous firms charge in other forms of cases. The normal car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to take on an accident case. A contingency fee implies that the firm will not receive money any attorney's fees if you don't recover money into your case. The lawyer or law firm are certain to 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 article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and what you can get if you decide to hire a lawyer to deal with 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, when you yourself 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 according to whether your own injury lawsuit has to be filed against one other 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 conventional 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.
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 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 get 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely 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 may not understand the fee arrangement as previously mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to describe it to you.
Also, exactly like everything in an agreement, the fee is negotiable. If yours is really a "cut and dry" case—fault for the automobile accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has a lot of car insurance, and there's ample evidence backing up your claims—you can certainly negotiate less contingency percentage. You never need to stop a third of one's compensation simply because you'll need the leverage of experiencing a lawyer on your side.
Fees and Expenses
With respect to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you might 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 pay the above-mentioned fees because they become due. If your contract states that you're responsible for these costs, you can expect your own injury firm to call you and seek payment as 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 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 costs and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You'd wind up receiving $60,000 as your final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Make sure that your lawyer takes their fee out of 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 when it becomes a deal breaker, it's probably best to find another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not absolutely all cases calls for a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an original retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee by the end of one's case. However, in the event that you recover money, the amount already paid to the attorney ought to be subtracted from the percentage because of the attorney by 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 fact the legal representation is limited to drafting and responding to a demand letter. In that case, the fee may vary from $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 had been in a minor fender bender with little if any injuries, you can probably negotiate your own injury settlement with out a lawyer. On one other hand, if you had been injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worth of one's case rises quickly. What this means is the insurance adjuster works to minimize your damages and try to obtain you to just accept a really low settlement offer—they're in the commercial of earning money, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having an experienced lawyer on your side becomes essential.