If one other driver is responsible for your car accident, you'll probably have the ability to hire a personal 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 one other driver was responsible, you'll be buying a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the person filing a personal injury lawsuit, whenever a case causes it to be to court). But how much do you want 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 many firms charge in other kinds of cases. The normal car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to defend myself against an accident case. A contingency fee implies that the firm will not get paid any attorney's fees if you don't recover cash in 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 the best way to trial).
In this informative article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and what you can expect if you choose 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, when you yourself 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 based 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 low side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and following the defendant has served an official 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 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, 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 situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely vital that you speak with your attorney in regards to 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, the same as everything in an agreement, the fee is negotiable. If yours is just a "cut and dry" case—fault for the automobile accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has plenty of car insurance, and there's ample evidence burning your claims—you can certainly negotiate a diminished contingency percentage. That you don't need to quit a third of one's compensation mainly 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 might or may not result in upfront court fees and other litigation expenses, just 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 while they become due. If your contract states that you are accountable for these costs, you can expect a personal injury firm to call you and seek payment as the fees become due. If you cannot pay these fees, your case will 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 undoubtedly be deducted from your own settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your car accident case for $100,000. This time around, your contract stated that costs and expenses would 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 expense 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).
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 understand 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 totally all cases will involve a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an initial retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee at the end of one's case. However, in the event that you recover money, the total amount already paid to the attorney ought to be subtracted from the percentage as a result of attorney at the end of the case. For 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 an appartment fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are typically reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge an appartment fee where in fact the legal representation is limited to drafting and answering a demand letter. In that case, the fee may range from $300 to $1,000.
Is a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The general rule is this: The much more serious the injuries, the higher the worth of hiring a lawyer. If you were in a fender bender with little if any 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 worth of one's case rises quickly. This implies the insurance adjuster will work to minimize your damages and try to obtain you to accept a suprisingly low settlement offer—they're in the commercial of making money, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having a skilled lawyer on your side becomes essential.