If another driver is to blame for your vehicle accident, you'll probably be able to hire a personal injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Learn when it's worth the cost.
If you've been in a car accident, and it's pretty clear that another driver was to blame, you'll be buying a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the person filing a personal injury lawsuit, each time a case helps it be to court). But just how much are you going to need to pay?
Most car accident attorneys charge for their services in a reasonably unique way—instead of the hourly fee that lots of firms charge in other types of cases. The typical car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to take on a personal injury case. A contingency fee ensures that the firm will not get paid any attorney's fees if you don't recover cash 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 best way to trial).
In this article, we'll have a closer look at how contingency fees work and what you can expect if you determine to hire a lawyer to take care of your vehicle 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, if 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 according to whether a personal injury lawsuit must be filed against another driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it goes to court, the percentage may be on the lower side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and after 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 another 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 regulations in your state) allows the attorney to receive 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely very important to speak together with your attorney in regards to 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 really a "cut and dry" case—fault for the vehicle accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has lots of car insurance, and there's ample evidence burning your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lowered contingency percentage. You never need to quit a next of your compensation mainly because you need the leverage of having a lawyer on your side.
Fees and Expenses
Depending on the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you could or may 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 pay the above-mentioned fees as they become due. If your contract states that you will be responsible for these costs, you are able to expect a personal injury firm to call you and seek payment whilst the fees become due. If you fail to 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 vehicle accident case for $100,000. This time around, 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 expense and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You'd end up receiving $60,000 as one last recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee out from the "net settlement"—that is, the quantity left after case expenses are deducted. This arrangement is typical. However, some law firms may try to boost their pay by taking their money out first. Let them understand that you won't accept that, and if it becomes an offer breaker, it's probably best to locate another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not totally all cases calls for a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an original retainer to begin 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 be subtracted from the percentage as a result of 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 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 fact the legal representation is limited to drafting and answering a demand letter. Because case, the fee may range between $300 to $1,000.
Is just a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The general rule is this: The more severe the injuries, the greater the worthiness of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a small fender bender with little or no injuries, you are able to probably negotiate a personal injury settlement with out a lawyer. On another hand, if you're injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worthiness of your case rises quickly. What this means is the insurance adjuster will work to minimize your damages and try to obtain you to accept a really low settlement offer—they are available of earning profits, not spending it, after all. Because situation, having a skilled lawyer on your side becomes essential.