If one other driver is responsible for your vehicle accident, you'll probably be able to hire a personal injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Find out when it's worth the cost.
If you've experienced a vehicle accident, and it's pretty clear that one other driver was responsible, you will end up buying plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the person filing a personal injury lawsuit, whenever a case helps it be to court). But how much can you need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her services in a reasonably unique way—instead of the hourly fee that many firms charge in other kinds of cases. The typical car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to take on a personal injury case. A contingency fee means that the firm won't receives a commission any attorney's fees until you recover money in to your case. The lawyer or law firm can get paid a percentage 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 have a closer look at how contingency fees work and everything you can expect if you determine 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 depending on whether a personal injury lawsuit needs to be filed against one other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it goes to court, the percentage might be on the lower side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and following the defendant has served a formal 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 one 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, guess that the case instead ended in a jury verdict of $90,000 and your agreement (and/or regulations in your state) allows the attorney to receive 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this example, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely crucial that you speak along with your attorney about the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you may not understand the fee arrangement as previously mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to spell out it to you.
Also, just 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 copying your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lowered contingency percentage. You don't need to give up a next of your compensation mainly because you need the leverage of having a lawyer on your side.
Fees and Expenses
With regards to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you could or might 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 cover the above-mentioned fees while they become due. If your contract states that you're in charge of these costs, you are able to expect a personal injury firm to call you and seek payment because the fees become due. If you fail to 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 will soon be deducted from your settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your vehicle accident case for $100,000. Now, your contract stated that costs and expenses could 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 end up receiving $60,000 as your final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee from the "net settlement"—that's, the quantity left after case expenses are deducted. This arrangement is typical. However, some law firms may try to improve their pay by taking their money out first. Let them understand 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 will involve a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an original retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee at the end of your case. However, if you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney should really be subtracted from the percentage because of the attorney at the end of the case. For instance, 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 set fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are usually reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a set fee where 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 typical rule is this: The much more serious the injuries, the greater the worthiness of hiring a lawyer. If you had been in a minor fender bender with minimum injuries, you are able to probably negotiate a personal injury settlement without a lawyer. On one other hand, if you had been injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worthiness of your case rises quickly. What this means is the insurance adjuster will continue to work to minimize your damages and try to get you to simply accept a suprisingly low settlement offer—they are available of making money, not spending it, after all. Because situation, having an experienced lawyer on your side becomes essential.