If another driver is to blame for your vehicle accident, you'll probably manage to hire your own injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Discover when it's worth the cost.
If you've been in a vehicle accident, and it's pretty clear that another driver was to blame, you will end up looking for a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the individual filing your own injury lawsuit, each time a case causes it to be to court). But how much can you need to pay for?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her services in a reasonably unique way—rather than the hourly fee that numerous firms charge in other forms of cases. The normal car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to defend myself against an injury case. A contingency fee means that the firm will not receives a commission any attorney's fees until you recover money into 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 way to trial).
In this short 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 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 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 can vary greatly according to whether your own injury lawsuit needs to be filed against another driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it visits court, the percentage may be on the reduced side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and following the defendant has served a proper reply 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 instance, 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 example, 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 following the complaint is answered. In this example, 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 stated 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 lots of car insurance, and there's ample evidence burning your claims—you can certainly negotiate a lower contingency percentage. That you do not need to stop a third of one's compensation simply because you need the leverage of having a lawyer on your own side.
Fees and Expenses
Depending on the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you might 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 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 is going to be deducted from your own settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your vehicle 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'd find yourself receiving $60,000 as a final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Make sure 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 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 absolutely all cases calls for a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an initial retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee at the conclusion of one's case. However, in the event that you recover money, the total amount already paid to the attorney must be subtracted from the percentage as a result of attorney at the conclusion 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 a set fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are usually reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a set fee where in fact the legal representation is limited to drafting and giving an answer to a demand letter. For the reason 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 severe the injuries, the more the value of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a minor fender bender with little or no injuries, you can probably negotiate your own injury settlement with out a lawyer. On another hand, if you're injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the value of one's case rises quickly. This implies the insurance adjuster will continue to work to minimize your damages and try to have you to simply accept a suprisingly low settlement offer—they're in the commercial of earning profits, not spending it, after all. For the reason that situation, having a skilled lawyer on your own side becomes essential.