If another driver is to blame for your vehicle accident, you'll probably manage to hire your own injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Find out when it's worth the cost.
If you've been in a vehicle accident, and it's pretty clear that another driver was to blame, you will be buying plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents the individual filing your own injury lawsuit, each time a case causes it to be to court). But how much do you want to need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge for his or her services in a reasonably unique way—instead of the hourly fee that lots of firms charge in other forms 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 get paid any attorney's fees until you recover cash in your case. The lawyer or law firm are certain to get paid a portion 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 what you can expect if you determine to hire a lawyer to deal with 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 may vary according to whether your own injury lawsuit has to be filed against another driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it goes to court, the percentage might 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.
As an 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 regulations in your state) allows the attorney to get 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is definitely vital that you speak with your attorney concerning the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you do not understand the fee arrangement as mentioned 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 really a "cut and dry" case—fault for the car accident and your damages are clear, the defendant has plenty of car insurance, and there's ample evidence backing up your claims—you are able to certainly negotiate a lesser contingency percentage. You don't need to give up a third of one's compensation simply because you will need the leverage of having a lawyer on your own side.
Fees and Expenses
Depending on the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you may or might not lead to 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 are responsible for these costs, you are able to expect your own injury firm to call you and seek payment since the fees become due. If you fail to pay these fees, your case will probably 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 own settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your vehicle accident case for $100,000. Now, your contract stated that costs and expenses would 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 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 total amount left after case expenses are deducted. This arrangement is typical. However, some law firms may try to boost their pay by taking their money out first. Let them know that you won't accept that, and if it becomes an offer breaker, it's probably best to locate another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not absolutely all cases calls for a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect a preliminary retainer to begin your case and also collect a contingency fee by the end of one's case. However, if you recover money, the total amount already paid to the attorney must certanly be subtracted from the percentage as a result of attorney by the end of the case. For example, 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 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 responding to a demand letter. Because case, the fee may range between $300 to $1,000.
Is just a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The overall rule is this: The more severe the injuries, the greater 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 your own 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. What this means is the insurance adjuster will continue to work to minimize your damages and try to have you to just accept a really low settlement offer—they're available of earning money, not spending it, after all. Because situation, having an experienced lawyer on your own side becomes essential.