If the other driver is responsible for your car or truck accident, you'll probably manage to hire your own injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Discover when it's worth the cost.
If you've experienced a vehicle accident, and it's pretty clear that the other driver was responsible, you will be looking for a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the person filing your own injury lawsuit, each time a case makes it to court). But how much do you want to need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her services in a fairly unique way—as opposed to the hourly fee that lots of firms charge in other kinds of cases. The typical car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to battle a personal injury case. A contingency fee means that the firm won't receives a commission any attorney's fees unless you recover money into your case. The lawyer or law firm are certain to get paid a share 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 get if you determine to hire a lawyer to handle your car or truck 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 yourself have a 33% contingency fee arrangement and you recover $90,000 in your car or truck accident case, your attorney will receive around $30,000.
A contingency fee percentage can vary according to 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 might be on the lower 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.
For 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 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 what the law states 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 together with your attorney about 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 explain 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 car 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 lower contingency percentage. That you don't need to stop a third of one's compensation simply because you need the leverage of experiencing a lawyer on your side.
Fees and Expenses
Depending on the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you might or may not result in 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 cover the above-mentioned fees while they become due. If your contract states that you will be accountable 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 cannot pay these fees, your case will probably 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 likely to be deducted from your settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your car or truck accident case for $100,000. This time, 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 expense and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You would wind up receiving $60,000 as your final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee out from the "net settlement"—that's, the amount left after case expenses are deducted. This arrangement is typical. However, some law firms may try to increase their pay by taking their money out first. Let them realize 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 initial retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee at the conclusion of one's case. However, in the event that you recover money, the amount already paid to the attorney must certanly be subtracted from the percentage as a result of attorney at the conclusion of the case. Like, 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 typically reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a set fee where the legal representation is limited to drafting and giving an answer to a demand letter. In that case, the fee may vary from $300 to $1,000.
Is just a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The typical rule is this: The more severe the injuries, the greater the worth of hiring a lawyer. If you were in a fender bender with little if any injuries, you are able to probably negotiate your own injury settlement with no lawyer. On the other hand, if you were 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 get you to simply accept a very low settlement offer—they're available of making money, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having an experienced lawyer on your side becomes essential.