If one other driver is to blame for your car or truck accident, you'll probably have the ability to hire a personal injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Discover when it's worth the cost.
If you've been in a vehicle accident, and it's pretty clear that one other driver was to blame, you'll be looking for a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the person filing a personal injury lawsuit, whenever a case causes it to be to court). But just how much can you need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her services in a fairly unique way—as opposed to the hourly fee that numerous firms charge in other types of cases. The normal 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 receives a commission any attorney's fees unless you recover cash 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 everything you can expect if you decide 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 according to whether a personal 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 reduced side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and after the defendant has served an official answer 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 one 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, 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 to get 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this example, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely crucial that you speak along with your attorney concerning the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you may not understand the fee arrangement as stated in the contract, ask your attorney to describe it to you.
Also, exactly like everything in an agreement, 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 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 stop a third of your compensation simply because you will need the leverage of having a lawyer on your side.
Fees and Expenses
With regards to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you might or may not result in upfront court fees and other litigation expenses, such as 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 accountable for these costs, you are able to expect a personal 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's 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 would 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 costs and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You would find yourself receiving $60,000 as a final 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 improve their pay by taking their money out first. Let them know that you won't accept that, and if it becomes a package breaker, it's probably best to locate another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not all cases calls for a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect a preliminary retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee at the end of your case. However, if you recover money, the amount already paid to the attorney should really be subtracted from the percentage because of the 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 usually 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 from $300 to $1,000.
Is really a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The overall rule is this: The more severe the injuries, the greater the value 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 no lawyer. On one other hand, if you're injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the value of your case rises quickly. This means the insurance adjuster works to minimize your damages and try to get you to accept a really low settlement offer—they are in the commercial of earning profits, not spending it, after all. For the reason that situation, having a skilled lawyer on your side becomes essential.