If one other driver is responsible for your vehicle accident, you'll probably manage to hire an individual injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Discover when it's worth the cost.
If you've experienced an auto accident, and it's pretty clear that one other driver was responsible, you will be buying plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents anyone filing an individual injury lawsuit, whenever a case makes it to court). But how much do you want to need to pay for?
Most car accident attorneys charge due to their services in a fairly unique way—in place of the hourly fee that numerous firms charge in other forms of cases. The typical car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to battle an accident case. A contingency fee ensures that the firm will not receives a commission 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 best way to trial).
In this article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and that which you can expect if you decide to hire a lawyer to deal with your vehicle accident case.
The Contingency Percentage
The percentage that 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 vehicle 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 would go 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 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 one 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 regulations in your state) allows the attorney for 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this case, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is obviously vital that you speak with your attorney about 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 spell out it to you.
Also, the same as everything in a contract, the fee is negotiable. If yours is just a "cut and dry" case—fault for the automobile accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has a lot of car insurance, and there's ample evidence backing up your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate less contingency percentage. You never need to stop a next of one's compensation simply because you need the leverage of getting a lawyer on your side.
Fees and Expenses
With regards to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you may or may not be responsible for 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 pay for the above-mentioned fees as 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 while 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. Now, 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 find yourself receiving $60,000 as one last recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee 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 understand that you won't accept that, and when it becomes a package breaker, it's probably best to get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not absolutely all cases calls for a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an original retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee at the end of one's case. However, if you recover money, the amount 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 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. In that case, the fee may range from $300 to $1,000.
Is really a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The typical rule is this: The more serious the injuries, the greater the value of hiring a lawyer. If you were in a minor fender bender with minimum injuries, you are able to probably negotiate an individual injury settlement without a lawyer. On one other hand, if you were injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the value of one's 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're in the commercial of making money, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having a skilled lawyer on your side becomes essential.