Being in an accident is horrible enough, but it’s even worse when someone else is at fault for the accident at hand. However, once recovered from the accident, you will need to locate a plaintiff’s car accident lawyer to help settle the situation. One big question you may be asking is how much this ordeal may cost?
Although lawyers are expensive, car accident attorneys charge a type of contingency fee which means that you won’t have to pay unless you win the case and recover your deserved money. This way, the firm or lawyer can get a percentage of you get for compensation for their services. To help get a better understanding of this practice, continue reading below.
The Contingency Percentage
A contingency percentage is typically 25-40 percent of what you recover in a car accident court case. However, not to worry, you only have to pay the fee if you win the case and recover the money you are owed. Although the total percentage varies state to state, you will still be able to keep a large sum of what you need to repair your vehicle or treat a personal injury.
Since a contingency fee can depend on whether or not the defendant has responded to your case, some fees can be lowered if there is no answer or appearance in court. Although, if the defendant does appear and respond to the court case, the contingency percentage can increase.
To help clear things up, if you sent a letter to the defendant and you reached a settlement for $90,000, the attorney would receive 33 percent of the settlement at $30,000. However, if you needed a jury verdict, of your $90,000, your attorney would get $36,000 which is 40 percent of your recovery.
Remember to always pay attention to the terms your attorney describes to you. If you don’t fully understand the terms make sure that you talk to your attorney. If you feel the fee is too expensive, most attorneys are willing to renegotiate it.
Expenses And Fees
Though it depends on your contract and your lawyer, you may also be required to pay upfront for court fees and certain litigation expenses. Some of these fees and expenses may be for serving summonses and subpoenas, filing court documents, obtaining police reports and medical records, fees for expert witnesses, and fees for court reporters.
A lot of personal injury law firms will require you to pay these costs as they arise. It should lay out in your contract whether or not you are personally responsible for these fees. If you are unable to pay these fees and expenses, the firm will most likely not continue with your case until payment is processed.
Most personal injury firms will do their best to cover their fees and expenses. Although, some fees and expenses for their services can be deducted from your final judgment or settlement amount.
One of the most important parts of understanding your expenses and fees is to make sure that your lawyer deducts their fee out of the net settlement. Although this arrangement is common, some law firms may try to swindle you and increase their rate by taking their money out first. However, if they don’t agree to your terms, they may not be as trustworthy as you thought and it’s time to find a new lawyer or firm.
Alternative Fee Arrangements
Though contingency fee arrangements are common, they will not be used for every case. Some lawyers may collect a retainer payment to be accepted when they start working on your case and collect a contingency fee at the end. If you do get a settlement at the end of the case, you should subtract the amount you already paid in the retainer from the final contingency fee.
Though it is rarer, your lawyer may ask for a flat fee payment. This type of payment is typically used in less complicated cases. One situation where you may be asked to pay a flat fee is if you are only using legal services to write and respond to a demand letter. The flat fee for this service can range from $300 to $1,000.
Is Getting A Car Accident Lawyer Even Worth The Price?
In general, the more serious the injuries involved, the more likely you should enlist the help of a lawyer. If you were only in a small fender bender with no or very small injuries, you would be better off without a lawyer. You are most likely able to plead your case effectively and get an acceptable settlement on your own. There is no need to pay a lawyer one-third of your settlement money in a case like this, especially when the settlement is all but guaranteed.
Conversely, if you were significantly injured and require serious medical treatment, the value of your settlement can quickly increase. Your insurance adjuster will work to limit your damages and attempt to get you to accept a low settlement offer. The insurance adjuster is not trying to help you, their job is to make money. In a case like this, having a lawyer would be beneficial. They can effectively argue your case, negotiate your damages, and get you the largest settlement they can. Also, even the threat of a lawsuit and trial often puts enough pressure on the insurance company to provide you with a fair settlement.