If one other driver is at fault for your car or truck accident, you'll probably manage to hire your own 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 at fault, you'll be looking for a plaintiff's car accident lawyer (one who represents anyone filing your own injury lawsuit, when a case causes it to be to court). But how much do you want to need to cover?
Most car accident attorneys charge for their services in a reasonably unique way—as opposed to the hourly fee that lots of firms charge in other forms of cases. The normal car accident lawyer will charge a "contingency fee" to defend myself against an injury case. A contingency fee means that the firm will not get paid any attorney's fees unless you recover cash in your case. The lawyer or law firm will get paid a percentage 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 get if you determine to hire a lawyer to take care of your car or truck 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 car or truck accident case, your attorney will receive around $30,000.
A contingency fee percentage can vary greatly depending on whether your own injury lawsuit has to be filed against one other driver (the defendant). If the case settles before it visits court, the percentage might be on the reduced side.
However, if settlement occurs after suit is filed and following the defendant has served a formal 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 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, suppose 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 for 40% of a recovery following the complaint is answered. In this example, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is obviously crucial that you speak with your attorney in regards to 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 spell out it to you.
Also, the same as everything in an agreement, 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 lots of car insurance, and there's ample evidence burning your claims—you can certainly negotiate less contingency percentage. You don't need to give up a third of your compensation mainly because you will need the leverage of experiencing a lawyer in your side.
Fees and Expenses
Depending on the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you may 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 cover the above-mentioned fees as they become due. If your contract states that you are in charge of these costs, you can expect your own injury firm to call you and seek payment while 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 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 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 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).
Ensure that your lawyer takes their fee out 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 boost their pay by taking their money out first. Let them realize that you won't accept that, and when it becomes a deal breaker, it's probably best to locate another lawyer.
Other Fee Arrangements
Not totally 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 at the conclusion of your case. However, if you recover money, the amount already paid to the attorney ought to be subtracted from the percentage due to the attorney at the conclusion 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 an appartment fee payment for legal services. Flat fee arrangements are generally reserved for less-complex cases. A law firm may charge an appartment fee where in actuality 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 a Car Accident Lawyer Worth The Cost ?
The overall rule is this: The much more serious the injuries, the higher the worthiness of hiring a lawyer. If you're in a small fender bender with little if any injuries, you can probably negotiate your own injury settlement with no lawyer. On one other hand, if you're injured and needed any significant medical treatment, the worthiness of your case rises quickly. This implies the insurance adjuster works to minimize your damages and try to obtain you to accept a very low settlement offer—they are in the business of earning profits, not spending it, after all. In that situation, having a skilled lawyer in your side becomes essential.