If one other driver is responsible 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 held it's place in 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 your own injury lawsuit, each time a case causes it to be to court). But just how much will you need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge for their services in a fairly unique way—instead of the hourly fee that lots of 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 ensures that the firm won't get paid any attorney's fees until you recover cash in your case. The lawyer or law firm will get paid a portion of money received from any car insurance settlement or jury verdict (if the case goes all how you can trial).
In this information, 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 can vary greatly depending on whether your own injury lawsuit needs to be filed against one other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it goes to court, the percentage may be on the reduced side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and following the defendant has served a formal reply 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 instance, 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, guess 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 to receive 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this case, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is obviously 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 mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to explain it to you.
Also, exactly like everything in a contract, 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 burning your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate less contingency percentage. That you do not need to stop a next of your compensation simply because you need the leverage of getting a lawyer on your own side.
Fees and Expenses
With regards to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you could or may 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 cover the above-mentioned fees while 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 while 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 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 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).
Be sure that your lawyer takes their fee out of the "net settlement"—that is, 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 know that you won't accept that, and if it becomes a package breaker, it's probably best to get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not totally all cases calls for a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect a preliminary retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee at the conclusion of your case. However, in the event that you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney ought to be subtracted from the percentage because of the attorney at the conclusion of the case. For example, 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 won't involve a set fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are generally 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 overall rule is this: The much more serious the injuries, the more the value of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a fender bender with minimum injuries, you are able to probably negotiate your own injury settlement without a lawyer. On one other hand, if you're injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the value 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 accept a suprisingly low settlement offer—they're available of making money, not spending it, after all. Because situation, having a skilled lawyer on your own side becomes essential.