If another driver is responsible for your vehicle accident, you'll probably be able to hire your own injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Find out when it's worth the cost.
If you've been in a vehicle accident, and it's pretty clear that another driver was responsible, you'll be buying plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the individual filing your own injury lawsuit, whenever a case helps it be to court). But just how much do you want to need to pay for?
Most car accident attorneys charge for their services in a fairly unique way—as opposed to the hourly fee that numerous firms charge in other forms of cases. The typical car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to defend myself against an accident case. A contingency fee means that the firm will not receives a commission any attorney's fees unless 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 information, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and that which you can expect if you decide 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, if 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 based on whether your own injury lawsuit needs to be filed against another driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it visits court, the percentage might be on the lower side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and following the defendant has served a formal 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 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, guess 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 example, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely important to speak 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, the same as everything in an agreement, the fee is negotiable. If yours is a "cut and dry" case—fault for the car accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has lots of car insurance, and there's ample evidence backing up your claims—you can certainly negotiate a lesser contingency percentage. That you do not need to stop a next of your compensation simply because you need the leverage of experiencing a lawyer in your side.
Fees and Expenses
With respect to 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 accountable for these costs, you can expect your own injury firm to call you and seek payment as the fees become due. If you fail to pay these fees, your case will 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 is likely to 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 example, your attorney would receive $10,000 as reimbursement for the expenses and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You would find yourself receiving $60,000 as your final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee out from the "net settlement"—that is, the total amount left after case expenses are deducted. This arrangement is typical. However, some law firms may try to boost 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 find another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not all cases calls for a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an original retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee at the conclusion of your case. However, if you recover money, the total amount already paid to the attorney must certanly be subtracted from the percentage as a result of 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 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 the legal representation is limited to drafting and answering a demand letter. In that case, the fee may range from $300 to $1,000.
Is just a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The typical rule is this: The more severe the injuries, the greater the worth of hiring a lawyer. If you were in a minor fender bender with little or no injuries, you can probably negotiate your own injury settlement without a lawyer. On another hand, if you were injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worth 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 very low settlement offer—they are in the commercial of earning money, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having a skilled lawyer in your side becomes essential.