If another driver is to blame for your vehicle accident, you'll probably have the ability to hire an individual injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Find out when it's worth the cost.
If you've experienced an auto accident, and it's pretty clear that another driver was to blame, you will be looking for a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the individual filing an individual injury lawsuit, whenever a case helps it be to court). But how much do you want to need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge for their services in a fairly unique way—as opposed to the hourly fee that many firms charge in other forms of cases. The conventional car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to battle a personal injury case. A contingency fee means that the firm won't get paid any attorney's fees until 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 how you can trial).
In this information, 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 vehicle 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, if 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 can vary based on whether an individual injury lawsuit needs to be filed against another driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it visits court, the percentage may be on the reduced 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 instance, 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 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 following the complaint is answered. In this example, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely vital that you speak together with your attorney about the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you do not understand the fee arrangement as stated in the contract, ask your attorney to describe it to you.
Also, just 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 copying your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lesser contingency percentage. You don't need to stop a third of one's compensation mainly because you need the leverage of experiencing a lawyer in your 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, 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 because they become due. If your contract states that you are accountable 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 cannot 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 is going to be deducted from your 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 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 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 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 conclusion of one's case. However, in the event that you recover money, the amount already paid to the attorney ought to be subtracted from the percentage because of the attorney at the conclusion of the case. For 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 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 really a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The general rule is this: The more severe the injuries, the higher the worth of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a small fender bender with little if any injuries, you are able to probably negotiate an individual injury settlement with out a lawyer. On another hand, if you're injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worth of one's case rises quickly. This means the insurance adjuster works to minimize your damages and try to have you to accept a suprisingly low settlement offer—they are in the commercial of earning money, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having a skilled lawyer in your side becomes essential.