If the other driver is responsible for your car or truck accident, you'll probably manage to hire an individual injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Discover when it's worth the cost.
If you've been in an auto accident, and it's pretty clear that the other driver was responsible, you will end up buying plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents anyone filing an individual injury lawsuit, each time a case helps it be to court). But just how much will you need to pay for?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her services in a fairly unique way—in place of the hourly fee that numerous firms charge in other kinds of cases. The conventional car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to battle an accident case. A contingency fee ensures that the firm won't receives a commission any attorney's fees until you recover cash in your case. The lawyer or law firm are certain to get paid a portion 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 everything you can get if you decide to hire a lawyer to deal with your car or truck 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, if you have a 33% contingency fee arrangement and you recover $90,000 in your car or truck accident case, your attorney will receive around $30,000.
A contingency fee percentage may vary depending on whether an individual injury lawsuit must be filed against the other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it would go to court, the percentage may be on the lower 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.
As an example, suppose your lawyer sent a demand letter to the 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, suppose 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 get 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely very important to speak with your attorney concerning 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 spell out it to you.
Also, the same as everything in an agreement, 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 backing up your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lower contingency percentage. You don't need to quit a next of one's compensation mainly because you will need the leverage of experiencing a lawyer on your own side.
Fees and Expenses
Depending on the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you might or might 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 for the above-mentioned fees because they become due. If your contract states that you're accountable for these costs, you are able to expect an individual injury firm to call you and seek payment because the fees become due. If you fail to pay these fees, your case will more than likely 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 own settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your car or truck 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 would find yourself receiving $60,000 as your final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Be sure that your lawyer takes their fee 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 realize that you won't accept that, and if it becomes a package breaker, it's probably best to get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not absolutely all cases will involve a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect a preliminary retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee at the conclusion of one's case. However, if you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney must be subtracted from the percentage as a result of attorney at the conclusion of the case. For instance, if 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 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 in actuality the legal representation is limited to drafting and responding to 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 more severe the injuries, the higher the value of hiring a lawyer. If you had been in a fender bender with little or no injuries, you are able to probably negotiate an individual injury settlement with out a lawyer. On the other hand, if you had been 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 get you to simply accept a really low settlement offer—they are available of making money, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having an experienced lawyer on your own side becomes essential.