If the other driver is at fault for your vehicle accident, you'll probably have the ability to hire your own injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Learn when it's worth the cost.
If you've experienced a car accident, and it's pretty clear that the other driver was at fault, you will end up looking for a 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?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her 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 battle a personal injury case. A contingency fee implies that the firm will not receive money any attorney's fees if you don't recover money 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 way to trial).
In this informative article, we'll have a closer look at how contingency fees work and everything you can expect if you decide to hire a lawyer to take care of your vehicle 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 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 according to whether your own injury lawsuit needs to 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 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 the other 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 after the complaint is answered. In this example, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is obviously very important to speak together 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 stated 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 just 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 copying your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lesser contingency percentage. That you do not need to quit a third of one's 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 lead to 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 the above-mentioned fees because they become due. If your contract states that you will be responsible 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 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 soon be deducted from your own 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 would 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'd wind 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 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 all cases will involve a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an initial retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee by the end of one's case. However, in the event that you recover money, the 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 set fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are typically reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a set fee where in actuality 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 really a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The typical rule is this: The more severe the injuries, the higher the worth of hiring a lawyer. If you had been in a small fender bender with minimum injuries, you are able to probably negotiate your own injury settlement with out 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. What this means is the insurance adjuster will continue to work to minimize your damages and try to have you to accept a very low settlement offer—they're in the business of earning money, not spending it, after all. For the reason that situation, having an experienced lawyer in your side becomes essential.