If another driver is responsible for your car accident, you'll probably have the ability to hire your own injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Discover when it's worth the cost.
If you've held it's place in a vehicle accident, and it's pretty clear that another driver was responsible, you will end up buying a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents anyone filing your own injury lawsuit, each time a case helps it be to court). But just how much can you need to pay?
Most car accident attorneys charge due to their services in a fairly unique way—in place of the hourly fee that numerous firms charge in other types of cases. The conventional car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to take on a personal injury case. A contingency fee ensures that the firm will not get paid any attorney's fees if you recover money into 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 information, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and everything you can expect if you choose to hire a lawyer to deal with your car 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 car accident case, your attorney will receive around $30,000.
A contingency fee percentage may vary based on whether your own injury lawsuit has to be filed against another driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it visits court, the percentage may be on the low 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.
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 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 what the law states 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 definitely vital that you speak along 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 mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to explain it to you.
Also, the same as everything in a contract, the fee is negotiable. If yours is really a "cut and dry" case—fault for the vehicle accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has a lot of car insurance, and there's ample evidence backing up your claims—you can certainly negotiate a lowered contingency percentage. You do not need to give up a third of your compensation mainly because you will need the leverage of experiencing a lawyer in your side.
Fees and Expenses
Depending on the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you could 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 pay the above-mentioned fees while they become due. If your contract states that you are in charge of 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'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 own settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your car 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 expense 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).
Be sure that your lawyer takes their fee out of 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 increase 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 locate another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not absolutely all cases will involve a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an original retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee at the end of your case. However, in the event that you recover money, the total amount already paid to the attorney should really be subtracted from the percentage because of the attorney at the end of the case. Like, 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 normally reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a flat fee where in actuality the legal representation is limited to drafting and giving an answer to 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 typical rule is this: The more severe the injuries, the greater the worth of hiring a lawyer. If you were in a small fender bender with little if any 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 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. For the reason that situation, having a skilled lawyer in your side becomes essential.