If one other driver is responsible for your car accident, you'll probably have the ability to hire an individual injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Discover when it's worth the cost.
If you've been in a car 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 anyone filing an individual injury lawsuit, when a case helps it be to court). But simply how much are you going to need to pay for?
Most car accident attorneys charge for their services in a reasonably unique way—rather than the hourly fee that lots of firms charge in other types of cases. The normal car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to battle an accident case. A contingency fee implies that the firm will not receives a commission any attorney's fees until you recover money into your case. The lawyer or law firm are certain to 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 take a closer look at how contingency fees work and what you can get if you choose to hire a lawyer to handle your car 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, if 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 according to whether an individual injury lawsuit needs to be filed against one other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it visits court, the percentage might 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 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 to get 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is always important to speak together with your attorney concerning the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you don't understand the fee arrangement as mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to describe it to you.
Also, just 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 burning your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lower contingency percentage. You don't need to give up a next of one's compensation mainly because you will need the leverage of having a lawyer in your side.
Fees and Expenses
Depending on the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you could or might not result in upfront court fees and other litigation expenses, such as 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 will be in charge of these costs, you are able to expect an individual 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 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 could 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 a final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Make 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 understand 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 will involve a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect a preliminary retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee at the end of one's case. However, in the event that you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney must certanly be subtracted from the percentage due to the attorney at the end 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 will not involve a flat fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are typically reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a flat fee where in actuality the legal representation is limited to drafting and answering a demand letter. In that case, the fee may range between $300 to $1,000.
Is really a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The general rule is this: The more severe the injuries, the higher the worthiness of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a fender bender with little if any injuries, you are able to probably negotiate an individual injury settlement with no lawyer. On one other hand, if you're injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worthiness of one's case rises quickly. This means 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. In that situation, having an experienced lawyer in your side becomes essential.