If the other driver is to blame for your car or truck accident, you'll probably be able to hire an individual 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 the other driver was to blame, you will be buying plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents anyone filing an individual injury lawsuit, whenever a case helps it be to court). But simply how much do you want to need to pay for?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her services in a reasonably unique way—as opposed to the hourly fee that numerous firms charge in other forms of cases. The conventional car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to defend myself against a personal injury case. A contingency fee implies that the firm won't 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 way to trial).
In this information, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and that which you can expect if you determine to hire a lawyer to take care of your car or truck 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 yourself 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 can vary greatly depending on whether an individual injury lawsuit needs to be filed against the other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it would go to court, the percentage might be on the reduced 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 the 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 to get 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this example, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is obviously important to speak along with your attorney in regards to the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you don't understand the fee arrangement as stated in the contract, ask your attorney to describe it to you.
Also, just like everything in a contract, the fee is negotiable. If yours is just 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 can certainly negotiate a lower contingency percentage. You don't need to stop a third of your compensation simply because you'll need the leverage of having a lawyer on your own side.
Fees and Expenses
With regards to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you could 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 pay for the above-mentioned fees as they become due. If your contract states that you will be accountable for these costs, you can expect an individual injury firm to call you and seek payment whilst the fees become due. If you cannot pay these fees, your case will 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 soon be deducted from your own settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your car or truck 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 example, 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 a final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee out of the "net settlement"—that's, the quantity 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 know that you won't accept that, and when it becomes a deal breaker, it's probably best to locate another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not totally all cases will involve a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an original retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee at the conclusion of your case. However, in the event that you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney should really be subtracted from the percentage due to the attorney at the conclusion of the case. As an example, 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 won't involve a flat fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are typically reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a flat fee where in actuality the legal representation is limited to drafting and giving an answer to a demand letter. Because case, the fee may range between $300 to $1,000.
Is really a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The overall rule is this: The more serious the injuries, the more the worthiness of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a fender bender with little if any injuries, you can probably negotiate an individual injury settlement with out a lawyer. On the other 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 get you to just accept a suprisingly low settlement offer—they are in the business of making money, not spending it, after all. Because situation, having a skilled lawyer on your own side becomes essential.