If the other driver is to blame for your car 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 held it's place in a car accident, and it's pretty clear that the other driver was to blame, you'll be buying a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents anyone filing a personal injury lawsuit, each time a case makes it to court). But simply how much are you going to need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge due to their services in a reasonably unique way—rather than the hourly fee that numerous firms charge in other forms of cases. The conventional car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to battle an accident case. A contingency fee means that the firm won't receives a commission any attorney's fees if you don't recover cash in your case. The lawyer or law firm will get paid a share 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 that which 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 based on whether a personal injury lawsuit has to be filed against the other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it visits court, the percentage might be on the reduced 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 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 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 get 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this example, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is obviously crucial 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 describe it to you.
Also, just 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 plenty of car insurance, and there's ample evidence copying your claims—you can certainly negotiate less contingency percentage. You do not need to quit a third of your compensation mainly because you need the leverage of experiencing a lawyer on your own side.
Fees and Expenses
With regards to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you may or might not be responsible for 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 as they become due. If your contract states that you're accountable for these costs, you can expect a personal 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 is 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 accident case for $100,000. Now, your contract stated that costs and expenses could 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 expenses and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You would wind up receiving $60,000 as a final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Be sure that your lawyer takes their fee out of the "net settlement"—that is, the quantity 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 an offer breaker, it's probably best to get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not all cases will involve a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an initial retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee at the end of your case. However, in the event that you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney must certanly be subtracted from the percentage because of the 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 won't involve a set fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are typically reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a set fee where in actuality the legal representation is limited to drafting and responding to a demand letter. For the reason that case, the fee may range from $300 to $1,000.
Is really a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The general rule is this: The more severe the injuries, the higher the worthiness of hiring a lawyer. If you had been in a minor fender bender with little if any injuries, you can probably negotiate a personal injury settlement with out a lawyer. On the other hand, if you had been injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worthiness of your case rises quickly. What this means is the insurance adjuster will continue to work to minimize your damages and try to obtain 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 on your own side becomes essential.