If another driver is responsible for your car or truck accident, you'll probably have the ability to hire your own 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 another driver was responsible, you will be looking for a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents anyone filing your own injury lawsuit, whenever a case helps it be to court). But how much will you need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her services in a fairly unique way—rather than the hourly fee that lots of firms charge in other kinds of cases. The typical car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to take on a personal injury case. A contingency fee ensures that the firm will not receive money any attorney's fees until you recover money into 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 information, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and what you can expect 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, when you yourself 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 can vary depending on whether your own injury lawsuit must be filed against another driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it would go 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 another driver's insurance company in your case, and you quickly reached a settlement for $90,000. In this case, 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 for 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this case, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is obviously important to speak with your attorney in regards to the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you may not understand the fee arrangement as mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to spell out it to you.
Also, just like everything in a contract, the fee is negotiable. If yours is 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 copying your claims—you can certainly negotiate a lowered contingency percentage. You don't need to stop a next of one's compensation mainly because you'll need the leverage of having a lawyer on your side.
Fees and Expenses
With respect to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you could or may not lead to 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 because they become due. If your contract states that you're in charge of these costs, you can expect your own injury firm to call you and seek payment since the fees become due. If you fail to 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 settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your car or truck accident case for $100,000. This time, your contract stated that costs and expenses could be deducted from the settlement. Your attorney incurred $10,000 in costs and expenses. In this case, 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).
Be sure that your lawyer takes their fee out from the "net settlement"—that's, 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 when it becomes a deal breaker, it's probably best to find another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not all cases calls for a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect a preliminary retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee by the end of one's case. However, if you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney should be subtracted from the percentage due to the attorney by the end of the case. As an example, 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 will not involve an appartment fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are normally reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge an appartment fee where in actuality the legal representation is limited to drafting and responding to a demand letter. In that case, the fee may vary from $300 to $1,000.
Is a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The typical rule is this: The more severe the injuries, the more the value of hiring a lawyer. If you were in a fender bender with minimum injuries, you can probably negotiate your own injury settlement with out a lawyer. On another hand, if you were injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the value of one's case rises quickly. This means the insurance adjuster works to minimize your damages and try to get you to just accept a very low settlement offer—they're in the commercial of making money, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having an experienced lawyer on your side becomes essential.