If another driver is responsible for your vehicle accident, you'll probably have the ability to hire an individual injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Learn when it's worth the cost.
If you've experienced a vehicle accident, and it's pretty clear that another 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 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 reasonably unique way—as opposed to the hourly fee that lots of firms charge in other types of cases. The typical car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to defend myself against a personal injury case. A contingency fee ensures that the firm will not receive money any attorney's fees unless you recover money 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 the way to trial).
In this article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and what you can get if you decide to hire a lawyer to handle 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, 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 may vary according to whether an individual injury lawsuit has to be filed against another driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it visits court, the percentage might be on the lower 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 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 case, 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 the law in your state) allows the attorney to get 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this case, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely very important to speak with your attorney in regards to the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you do not understand the fee arrangement as previously mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to spell out it to you.
Also, just like everything in a contract, the fee is negotiable. If yours is really a "cut and dry" case—fault for the automobile 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 lesser contingency percentage. You do not need to quit a next of your compensation mainly because you need the leverage of getting a lawyer in your side.
Fees and Expenses
Depending on the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you could or might 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 cover the above-mentioned fees while they become due. If your contract states that you are responsible for these costs, you are able to expect an individual injury firm to call you and seek payment since the fees become due. If you fail to 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 likely to be deducted from your own 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 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 costs 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).
Be sure that your lawyer takes their fee 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 increase their pay by taking their money out first. Let them know that you won't accept that, and if it becomes a deal breaker, it's probably best to get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not totally all cases will involve a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an initial retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee by the end of your case. However, if you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney should really be subtracted from the percentage due to the attorney by the end of the case. Like, 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 flat fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are normally reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a flat fee where in fact the legal representation is limited to drafting and responding to a demand letter. For the reason that case, the fee may range between $300 to $1,000.
Is a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The overall rule is this: The more serious the injuries, the greater the value of hiring a lawyer. If you had been in a small fender bender with little or no injuries, you are able to probably negotiate an individual injury settlement with out a lawyer. On another hand, if you had been injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the value of your 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 suprisingly low settlement offer—they are in the commercial of making money, not spending it, after all. For the reason that situation, having an experienced lawyer in your side becomes essential.