If one other driver is at fault for your vehicle accident, you'll probably manage to hire your own injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Learn when it's worth the cost.
If you've been in an auto accident, and it's pretty clear that one other driver was at fault, you will be looking for a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the individual filing your own injury lawsuit, whenever a case makes it to court). But how much can you need to pay for?
Most car accident attorneys charge due to their services in a fairly unique way—instead 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 injury case. A contingency fee ensures that the firm will not receive money any attorney's fees until you recover money in to 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 how you can trial).
In this informative 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 vehicle 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 vehicle accident case, your attorney will receive around $30,000.
A contingency fee percentage may vary based on whether your own injury lawsuit must be filed against one other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it goes to court, the percentage may be on the lower side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and following the defendant has served a proper 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.
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, guess 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 receive 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is always crucial that you speak along 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 mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to explain it to you.
Also, exactly like everything in an agreement, the fee is negotiable. If yours is just 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 backing up your claims—you can certainly negotiate a diminished contingency percentage. You never need to give up a next of one's compensation simply because you need the leverage of experiencing a lawyer on your side.
Fees and Expenses
With regards to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you could or might not result in 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 are responsible for these costs, you can expect your own 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 be deducted from your settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your vehicle accident case for $100,000. This time around, 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 expense and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You would end up receiving $60,000 as a final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Ensure 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 improve their pay by taking their money out first. Let them know that you won't accept that, and when it becomes a package breaker, it's probably best to locate another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not totally all cases calls for a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an original retainer to begin 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 should be subtracted from the percentage because of the attorney at the conclusion of the case. For 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 a flat fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are generally reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a flat fee where in fact the legal representation is limited to drafting and answering a demand letter. In that case, the fee may vary from $300 to $1,000.
Is just a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The overall rule is this: The more serious the injuries, the greater the worth of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a minor fender bender with little if any injuries, you can probably negotiate your own injury settlement with no lawyer. On one other hand, if you're injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worth of one's case rises quickly. This means 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 in the business of making money, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having a skilled lawyer on your side becomes essential.