If one other driver is to blame for your vehicle accident, you'll probably have the ability 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 one other driver was to blame, you will end up buying a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the individual filing your own injury lawsuit, when a case makes it to court). But just how much are you going to need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge due to their services in a fairly unique way—as opposed to the hourly fee that lots of firms charge in other forms of cases. The typical car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to battle an injury case. A contingency fee implies that the firm will not get paid any attorney's fees unless you recover money in your case. The lawyer or law firm will get paid a percentage of money received from any car insurance settlement or jury verdict (if the case goes all the way to trial).
In this short article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and everything you can expect if you determine to hire a lawyer to deal with 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 greatly based on whether your own injury lawsuit must be filed against one other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it visits court, the percentage may be on the low side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and following the defendant has served a conventional 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, suppose that the case instead ended in a jury verdict of $90,000 and your agreement (and/or regulations in your state) allows the attorney for 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this example, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is always very important to speak along 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 mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to spell out it to you.
Also, exactly like everything in a contract, the fee is negotiable. If yours is 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 diminished contingency percentage. That you don't need to give up a next of one's compensation mainly because you need the leverage of getting a lawyer in your side.
Fees and Expenses
With regards to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you may 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 cover 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 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 undoubtedly be deducted from your own settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your vehicle accident case for $100,000. This time, 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 expense and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You would wind up receiving $60,000 as one last recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Make sure that your lawyer takes their fee out from the "net settlement"—that's, the total amount 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 realize that you won't accept that, and if it becomes a deal breaker, it's probably best to locate another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not all cases will involve a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect a preliminary retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee by the end of one's case. However, in the event that you recover money, the total amount already paid to the attorney ought to be subtracted from the percentage because of the attorney by the end 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 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 answering a demand letter. In that case, the fee may range between $300 to $1,000.
Is just a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The overall rule is this: The much more serious the injuries, the more the worth of hiring a lawyer. If you had been in a fender bender with little or no injuries, you are able to probably negotiate your own injury settlement with no lawyer. On one 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 simply accept a really low settlement offer—they're in the commercial of earning money, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having an experienced lawyer in your side becomes essential.