If one other driver is to blame for your car accident, you'll probably have the ability to hire an individual injury attorney on a "contingency fee" basis. Learn 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 will end up looking for a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents anyone 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—rather than the hourly fee that lots of firms charge in other forms of cases. The conventional car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to take on a personal injury case. A contingency fee implies that the firm will not receive money any attorney's fees unless you recover money in to your case. The lawyer or law firm can get paid a share of money received from any car insurance settlement or jury verdict (if the case goes all the way to trial).
In this short article, we'll take a closer look at how contingency fees work and that which you can expect if you decide to hire a lawyer to deal with your car accident case.
The Contingency Percentage
The percentage that the 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 car accident case, your attorney will receive around $30,000.
A contingency fee percentage may vary based on whether an individual injury lawsuit needs to be filed against one other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it visits court, the percentage may be on the lower side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and after 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 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 situation, 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 the law in your state) allows the attorney for 40% of a recovery after the complaint is answered. In this situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is obviously crucial that you speak together with your attorney about the contingency fee and to carefully review your contract for legal services. If you don't understand the fee arrangement as mentioned in the contract, ask your attorney to explain it to you.
Also, exactly like everything in a contract, the fee is negotiable. If yours is 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 burning your claims—you can certainly negotiate less contingency percentage. You don't need to quit a third of one's compensation mainly because you need the leverage of experiencing a lawyer on your own side.
Fees and Expenses
With respect to the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you could or may not lead to 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 because they become due. If your contract states that you're in charge of 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 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 settlement or final judgment. Let's say you settled your car 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 situation, your attorney would receive $10,000 as reimbursement for the expenses and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. You'd find yourself receiving $60,000 as your final recovery ($100,000 - $10,000 - $30,000 = $60,000).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee from the "net settlement"—that is, the quantity 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 realize that you won't accept that, and if it becomes an offer breaker, it's probably best to get another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not all cases calls for a natural contingency fee arrangement. Lawyers may collect an initial retainer to start your case and also collect a contingency fee by the end of one's case. However, in the event that you recover money, the quantity already paid to the attorney must be subtracted from the percentage because of the attorney by the end 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 generally 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 really 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 fender bender with little if any injuries, you can probably negotiate an individual injury settlement with out a lawyer. On one other hand, if you had been injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the value of one's case rises quickly. What this means is the insurance adjuster will continue to work to minimize your damages and try to obtain you to just accept a very low settlement offer—they are in the commercial of making money, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having a skilled lawyer on your own side becomes essential.