If the other driver is at fault 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 the other driver was at fault, you will end up buying plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the individual filing an individual injury lawsuit, whenever a case causes it to be to court). But simply how much do you want to need to pay for?
Most car accident attorneys charge because of their services in a fairly unique way—in place of the hourly fee that lots of firms charge in other kinds of cases. The normal car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to battle a personal injury case. A contingency fee implies that the firm will not receives a commission any attorney's fees until you recover money in your case. The lawyer or law firm are certain to 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 short article, we'll have a closer look at how contingency fees work and everything you can get if you determine to hire a lawyer to handle 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 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 based on whether an individual injury lawsuit has to be filed against the other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it would go to 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 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 instance, 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 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 the law in your state) allows the attorney to receive 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is always important to 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 previously 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 lots of car insurance, and there's ample evidence backing up your claims—you can certainly negotiate a lesser contingency percentage. You do not need to quit a next of your compensation simply because you will need the leverage of having a lawyer on your own side.
Fees and Expenses
With respect to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you might or might 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 pay for the above-mentioned fees because they become due. If your contract states that you're responsible for these costs, you can 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'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, 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 expenses and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You would end up receiving $60,000 as your final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Be sure that your lawyer takes their fee out of 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 understand that you won't accept that, and if it becomes a package breaker, it's probably best to get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not absolutely all cases will involve a pure contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an initial 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 amount already paid to the attorney must be subtracted from the percentage as a result of 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 will not involve a set fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are typically reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge a set fee where 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 a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The typical rule is this: The more severe the injuries, the higher the value of hiring a lawyer. If you had been in a minor fender bender with little if any injuries, you can probably negotiate an individual injury settlement with no lawyer. On the other hand, if you had been injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the value of your case rises quickly. What this means is the insurance adjuster will work to minimize your damages and try to have you to just accept a very low settlement offer—they're in the commercial of earning profits, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having an experienced lawyer on your own side becomes essential.