If another driver is to blame for your car or truck accident, you'll probably be able to hire your own injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Discover when it's worth the cost.
If you've been in a car accident, and it's pretty clear that another driver was to blame, you will be buying plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents anyone filing your own injury lawsuit, when a case helps it be to court). But just how much do you want to need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her services in a reasonably unique way—instead of the hourly fee that many firms charge in other forms of cases. The conventional car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to battle a personal injury case. A contingency fee implies that the firm won't receives a commission any attorney's fees if you recover money 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 information, we'll have a closer look at how contingency fees work and that which you can get if you choose to hire a lawyer to take care of 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 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 may vary depending on whether your own injury lawsuit has to be filed against another driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it would go to court, the percentage may be on the low side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and after the defendant has served a proper 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.
For 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, 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 for 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this case, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is obviously important to speak together with your attorney concerning 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 an agreement, the fee is negotiable. If yours is really a "cut and dry" case—fault for the car accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has a lot of car insurance, and there's ample evidence backing up your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lesser contingency percentage. You do not need to stop a third of your compensation simply because you 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 might or might not be responsible for 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 are responsible for these costs, you are able to 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 is likely to be deducted from your own settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your car or truck 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 case, your attorney would receive $10,000 as reimbursement for the costs and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You would end up receiving $60,000 as your final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Make 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 improve 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 absolutely all cases will involve a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an original retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee at the end of your case. However, if you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney must be subtracted from the percentage as a result of attorney at the end 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 won't 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 the legal representation is limited to drafting and responding to a demand letter. Because case, the fee may range between $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 were in a minor fender bender with little or no injuries, you are able to probably negotiate your own injury settlement without a lawyer. On another hand, if you were injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the value of your case rises quickly. What this means is the insurance adjuster works to minimize your damages and try to have you to simply accept a very low settlement offer—they are in the business of earning money, not spending it, after all. Because situation, having a skilled lawyer on your side becomes essential.