If one other driver is to blame for your car 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 an auto accident, and it's pretty clear that one other driver was to blame, you will be buying a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the person filing your own injury lawsuit, whenever a case makes it to court). But simply how much do you want to need to pay for?
Most car accident attorneys charge because of their services in a reasonably unique way—as opposed to 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 a personal injury case. A contingency fee implies that the firm won't receives a commission any attorney's fees if you don't 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 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 determine to hire a lawyer to take care of your car 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 accident case, your attorney will receive around $30,000.
A contingency fee percentage may vary based on whether your own injury lawsuit must be filed against one other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it would go to court, the percentage might be on the reduced side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and after the defendant has served a proper 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 one other 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, 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 for 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this case, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is always very important to speak with your attorney concerning the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you do not understand the fee arrangement as previously mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to spell out 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 car accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has plenty of car insurance, and there's ample evidence backing up your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate less contingency percentage. You never need to give up a next of one's compensation mainly because you will need the leverage of having a lawyer on your side.
Fees and Expenses
Depending on the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you may or might not result in 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 as they become due. If your contract states that you are accountable for these costs, you are able to 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 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 is likely to be deducted from your 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 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 expenses and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You'd wind up receiving $60,000 as your final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Make sure 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 realize 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 will involve a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect a preliminary retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee by the end of one's 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 by the end of the case. Like, 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 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 the legal representation is limited to drafting and responding to a demand letter. For the reason that case, the fee may vary from $300 to $1,000.
Is a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The typical rule is this: The much more serious the injuries, the more the value of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a small fender bender with minimum injuries, you are able to probably negotiate your own injury settlement with out a lawyer. On one other hand, if you're injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the value of one's case rises quickly. This means the insurance adjuster will continue to work to minimize your damages and try to get you to accept a suprisingly low settlement offer—they're in the business of earning profits, not spending it, after all. For the reason that situation, having a skilled lawyer on your side becomes essential.