If the other driver is to blame 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 car accident, and it's pretty clear that the other driver was to blame, you will be buying a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the individual filing your own injury lawsuit, whenever a case causes it to be to court). But simply how much do you want to need to pay?
Most car accident attorneys charge because of their 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 defend myself against an accident case. A contingency fee means that the firm won't get paid 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 the way to trial).
In this article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and everything you can get if you determine to hire a lawyer to take care of your car accident case.
The Contingency Percentage
The percentage that 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 yourself 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 can vary greatly depending on whether your own injury lawsuit must be filed against the other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it goes to court, the percentage may be on the low side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and following the defendant has served an official 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 the other 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 what the law states in your state) allows the attorney for 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is obviously 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 stated in the contract, ask your attorney to describe it to you.
Also, exactly 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 lots of car insurance, and there's ample evidence burning your claims—you can certainly negotiate a lesser contingency percentage. You never need to stop a third of one's compensation simply because you'll need the leverage of getting a lawyer on your own side.
Fees and Expenses
Depending on the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you might 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 the above-mentioned fees as they become due. If your contract states that you're accountable for these costs, you can expect your own injury firm to call you and seek payment while the fees become due. If you cannot 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 going to be deducted from your settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your car accident case for $100,000. Now, your contract stated that costs and expenses would 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 expenses and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You'd find yourself receiving $60,000 as one last recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Be sure that your lawyer takes their fee 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 know that you won't accept that, and when it becomes an offer breaker, it's probably best to locate another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not absolutely all cases calls for a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an original retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee at 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 due to the attorney at the end of the case. As an 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 normally reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge an appartment fee where in fact the legal representation is limited to drafting and responding to a demand letter. Because case, the fee may vary from $300 to $1,000.
Is a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The general rule is this: The much more serious the injuries, the greater the worth of hiring a lawyer. If you had been in a minor fender bender with little or no injuries, you can probably negotiate your own injury settlement without a lawyer. On the other hand, if you had been injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worth of one's case rises quickly. This implies 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. Because situation, having an experienced lawyer on your own side becomes essential.