If you’re looking for a car accident attorney after any type of car accident, here’s what you need to know up front:
- Most car accident attorneys represent clients under a “contingency fee” agreement, which means the attorney’s fees are deducted from any car insurance settlement or court judgment you receive client.
- Be sure to read the fine print when it comes to costs and expenses.
- Having the right attorney on your side can make a world of difference in the outcome of your immigration case. car accident.
a car accident lawyer’s contingency fee percentage
Most car accident attorneys charge for their services in a fairly unique way, as opposed to the hourly rate many firms charge for other types of cases. The typical car accident attorney will charge a “contingency fee” to take on an injury case. A contingency fee means that the firm will not receive any payment for attorneys’ fees unless you recover money in your case. the attorney or law firm will be paid a percentage of the money received from any jury verdict (if the case goes to trial).
Reading: Car accident lawyer fees
The percentage that a personal injury attorney can receive in a contingency fee agreement varies, but generally ranges from 25 to 40 percent, with 33 percent (or one-third) being pretty standard. therefore, if you have a 33% contingency fee arrangement and recover $90,000 in your car accident case, your attorney will receive about $30,000.
A percentage of the contingency fee may vary depending on whether a personal injury claim must be filed against the other driver (the defendant). if the case settles before going to court, the percentage may be on the lower side.
However, if a settlement is reached after the lawsuit is filed and after the defendant has filed a formal answer to his lawsuit, or if the case goes to trial and a jury verdict is reached, the attorney’s share may increase to 40 percent.
As an example, suppose your attorney sent a demand letter to the other driver’s insurance company in your case and quickly settled for $90,000. in this situation, the attorney would again receive $30,000 (33%). however, suppose the case ended in a $90,000 jury verdict and your settlement (and/or the law in your state) allows the attorney to receive a 40% recovery after the lawsuit is answered. in this situation, the attorney can recover $36,000.
It is always important to talk to your attorney about the contingency fee and carefully review your legal services contract. If you don’t understand the fee arrangement as stated in the contract, ask your attorney to explain it to you.
Also, like everything in a contract, the rate is negotiable. If yours is a “cut and dry” case (fault for the car accident and its damages are clear, the defendant has sufficient auto insurance, and there is ample evidence to support their claims), you can certainly negotiate a lower contingency percentage. . he doesn’t need to give up a third of his compensation simply because he needs the advantage of having a lawyer on his side.
costs and expenses in a car accident case
Depending on the attorney and your legal services contract, you may or may not be responsible for initial court fees and other litigation expenses, such as the cost of obtaining medical records and police reports, court reporter fees, and court filing fees. expert witnesses.
Many personal injury firms require the client to pay the above fees as they come due. If your contract states that you are responsible for these costs, you can expect a personal injury firm to call you and seek payment as the fees are due. If you cannot pay these fees, your case may not proceed until there is payment.
Other personal injury firms (typically large firms), will cover all fees and expenses. however, fees and expenses will be deducted from your final settlement or judgment. Let’s say you settled your car accident case for $100,000. this time, his contract stated that costs and expenses would be deducted from the settlement. his attorney incurred $10,000 in costs and expenses. In this situation, your attorney would be reimbursed $10,000 for costs and expenses, and $30,000 for legal services. you would end up receiving $60,000 as a final recovery ($100,000 – $10,000 – $30,000 = $60,000).
Make sure your attorney deducts your fee from the “net settlement,” that is, the amount left over after case expenses are deducted. this arrangement is typical. however, some law firms may try to increase your salary by withdrawing your money first. let them know you won’t agree to that, and if it becomes a deal breaker, it’s probably best to find another attorney.
Learn more about legal fees and costs in personal injury cases.
other types of auto accident case fee settlements
Not all cases will involve a pure contingency fee arrangement. Attorneys may charge an initial retainer to start your case and also charge a contingency fee at the end of your case. however, if you recover money, the amount you already paid the attorney must be subtracted from the percentage owed to the attorney at the end of the case. For example, if you paid the attorney $2,000 in advance and you recover $90,000 in a settlement, the attorney will receive $28,000 of the settlement ($30,000 minus $2,000 = $28,000).
Most car accident cases will not involve paying a flat fee for legal services. flat fee arrangements are generally reserved for less complex cases. A law firm may charge a flat fee when legal representation is limited to drafting and responding to a demand letter. in that case, the fee can range from $300 to $1,000.
Is a car accident attorney worth the cost?
The general rule of thumb is this: the more serious the injuries, the greater the value of hiring an attorney. If you were in a minor accident with little or no injuries, you can probably negotiate a personal injury settlement without an attorney.
On the other hand, if you were injured and required significant medical treatment, the value of your case increases rapidly. this means that the insurance adjuster will work to minimize your damages and try to get you to accept a very low settlement offer; after all, your business is making money, not spending it. In that situation, having an experienced attorney on your side becomes essential.
a recent nolo/lawyers.com survey revealed that having a lawyer on your side can make a big difference:
- 74 percent of respondents who had a car accident attorney on their side received at least some amount of compensation in their car accident claim, while only 54 percent of those who handled their own claim saw a payment.
- respondents with a car accident attorney received an average of $44,600, compared to a payment average of $13,900 for self-represented claimants.
Learn more about how having an attorney on your side affects the outcome of a car accident claim and how an attorney can help you with your car accident case.