If one other driver is responsible for your vehicle accident, you'll probably manage to hire a personal injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Discover when it's worth the cost.
If you've experienced a car accident, and it's pretty clear that one other driver was responsible, you will end up looking for a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the individual filing a personal injury lawsuit, when a case helps it be to court). But just how much are you going to need to pay for?
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 normal car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to take on a personal injury case. A contingency fee implies that the firm won't get paid any attorney's fees if you don't recover money into your case. The lawyer or law firm are certain to get paid a share of money received from any car insurance settlement or jury verdict (if the case goes all how you can trial).
In this short article, we'll have a closer look at how contingency fees work and what you can expect if you choose to hire a lawyer to deal with your vehicle 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 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 would go to court, the percentage might be on the reduced side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and after 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 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 receive 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this example, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is obviously very important to speak 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 describe it to you.
Also, exactly like everything in a contract, the fee is negotiable. If yours is really a "cut and dry" case—fault for the vehicle accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has a lot of car insurance, and there's ample evidence backing up your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a diminished contingency percentage. That you do not need to stop a next of one's compensation simply because you 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 may or may 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 for the above-mentioned fees because they become due. If your contract states that you are responsible for 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 is likely to be deducted from your own 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 example, your attorney would receive $10,000 as reimbursement for the costs and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You'd end up receiving $60,000 as your final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Ensure 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 totally all cases will involve a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an initial retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee at the conclusion of one's case. However, in the event that you recover money, the amount already paid to the attorney should really be subtracted from the percentage because of the attorney at the conclusion 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 won't involve an appartment fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are usually 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. Because case, the fee may range from $300 to $1,000.
Is just a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The overall rule is this: The much more serious the injuries, the higher the worthiness of hiring a lawyer. If you had been in a small fender bender with minimum injuries, you are able to probably negotiate a personal injury settlement with no lawyer. On one other hand, if you had been injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worthiness of one's case rises quickly. This means the insurance adjuster works to minimize your damages and try to get you to simply accept a suprisingly low settlement offer—they're available of earning profits, not spending it, after all. Because situation, having an experienced lawyer in your side becomes essential.