If another driver is responsible for your vehicle accident, you'll probably manage to hire a personal injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Find out when it's worth the cost.
If you've been in a car accident, and it's pretty clear that another driver was responsible, you will be buying plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the person filing a personal injury lawsuit, when a case makes it to court). But simply 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 lots of firms charge in other kinds of cases. The conventional car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to battle an accident case. A contingency fee ensures that the firm will not receives a commission any attorney's fees if you don't recover cash in your case. The lawyer or law firm will 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 informative article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and that which you can get if you choose to hire a lawyer to handle 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 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 depending on whether a personal injury lawsuit needs to be filed against another driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it goes to court, the percentage might be on the low side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and after the defendant has served a conventional 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 situation, 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 after the complaint is answered. In this situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is always very important to speak together with your attorney in regards to the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you don't understand the fee arrangement as previously mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to explain 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 automobile 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 don't need to stop a third of one's compensation simply because you will 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 may 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 pay for the above-mentioned fees while they become due. If your contract states that you will be responsible for these costs, you can expect a personal injury firm to call you and seek payment as the fees become due. If you fail to pay these fees, your case will more than 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 will undoubtedly be deducted from your own settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your vehicle 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 situation, your attorney would receive $10,000 as reimbursement for the expense and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You'd end up receiving $60,000 as a final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee from 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 boost 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 get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not totally all cases calls for a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an initial retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee by the end of one's case. However, in the event that you recover money, the total amount already paid to the attorney should really be subtracted from the percentage as a result of attorney by the end of the case. For instance, 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 flat fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are usually reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a flat fee where the legal representation is limited to drafting and answering a demand letter. For the reason that case, the fee may range between $300 to $1,000.
Is really a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The general rule is this: The much more serious the injuries, the higher the worthiness of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a small fender bender with minimum injuries, you can probably negotiate a personal injury settlement without a lawyer. On another hand, if you're injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worthiness of one's case rises quickly. This implies the insurance adjuster will work to minimize your damages and try to obtain you to simply accept a really low settlement offer—they are in the commercial of making money, not spending it, after all. For the reason that situation, having a skilled lawyer on your side becomes essential.