If one other driver is at fault for your car accident, you'll probably manage to hire a personal injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Learn when it's worth the cost.
If you've experienced an auto accident, and it's pretty clear that one other driver was at fault, you'll be buying plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the individual filing a personal injury lawsuit, whenever a case helps it be to court). But how much are you going to need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge because of their services in a reasonably unique way—as opposed to the hourly fee that lots of firms charge in other types of cases. The normal car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to battle a personal injury case. A contingency fee implies that the firm will not get paid any attorney's fees unless you recover cash in your case. The lawyer or law firm can get paid a share 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 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, if you 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 greatly depending on whether a personal injury lawsuit must 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 after the defendant has served a conventional 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, suppose that the case instead ended in a jury verdict of $90,000 and your agreement (and/or regulations in your state) allows the attorney to get 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this example, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely very important to speak together with your attorney in regards to 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 explain 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 lots of car insurance, and there's ample evidence copying your claims—you can certainly negotiate less contingency percentage. That you do not need to give up a next of your compensation simply because you will need the leverage of getting a lawyer in your side.
Fees and Expenses
Depending on the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you could 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 cover the above-mentioned fees because they become due. If your contract states that you are responsible for these costs, you can 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 be deducted from your own settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your car accident case for $100,000. This time, 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 wind up receiving $60,000 as one last recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee out of the "net settlement"—that's, the total amount left after case expenses are deducted. This arrangement is typical. However, some law firms may try to increase their pay by taking their money out first. Let them realize that you won't accept that, and if it becomes a deal breaker, it's probably best to get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not all cases calls for a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an initial retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee by the end of your case. However, in the event that 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. 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 usually reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a flat fee where the legal representation is limited to drafting and giving an answer to a demand letter. For the reason that case, the fee may vary from $300 to $1,000.
Is just a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The general rule is this: The much more serious the injuries, the higher the value of hiring a lawyer. If you were in a small fender bender with minimum injuries, you can probably negotiate a personal injury settlement with out a lawyer. On one other hand, if you were injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the value of your case rises quickly. This implies the insurance adjuster will continue to work to minimize your damages and try to get you to simply accept a really low settlement offer—they're available of earning money, not spending it, after all. For the reason that situation, having an experienced lawyer in your side becomes essential.