If another driver is at fault for your car or truck accident, you'll probably manage to hire a personal injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Find out when it's worth the cost.
If you've been in a car accident, and it's pretty clear that another driver was at fault, you'll be buying plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents anyone filing a personal injury lawsuit, when a case helps it be to court). But simply how much will you need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her services in a reasonably unique way—in place of the hourly fee that numerous firms charge in other kinds of cases. The normal car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to battle an accident case. A contingency fee ensures that the firm will not receive money any attorney's fees if you don't recover cash in your case. The lawyer or law firm will 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 article, we'll have a closer look at how contingency fees work and what you can get if you determine to hire a lawyer to take care of your car or truck 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 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 may vary based on whether a personal injury lawsuit must be filed against another 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 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.
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 situation, 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 for 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is always very important to speak together with your attorney concerning the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you don't understand the fee arrangement as previously mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to explain it to you.
Also, the same as 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 burning your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lesser contingency percentage. You don't need to give up a next of one's compensation simply because you will need the leverage of getting a lawyer on your own side.
Fees and Expenses
With respect to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you may or might 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 as they become due. If your contract states that you're accountable for these costs, you are able to expect a personal 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 is 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 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 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 wind up receiving $60,000 as one last recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Be sure that your lawyer takes their fee out from the "net settlement"—that is, 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 an offer breaker, it's probably best to find another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not totally all cases will involve 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. 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 an appartment fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are usually reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge an appartment fee where the legal representation is limited to drafting and giving an answer to a demand letter. In that case, the fee may range from $300 to $1,000.
Is a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The typical rule is this: The more serious the injuries, the more the value of hiring a lawyer. If you were in a minor fender bender with little if any injuries, you are able to probably negotiate a personal injury settlement without a lawyer. On another hand, if you were injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the value of one's case rises quickly. This means the insurance adjuster works to minimize your damages and try to obtain you to just accept a very low settlement offer—they are available of making money, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having a skilled lawyer on your own side becomes essential.