Car Accident Settlement Lawyer Fees
If you’re planning to file a personal injury lawsuit due to the damages you’ve experienced as a result of a car accident, you may need to hire a plaintiff’s car accident lawyer.
How Does the Lawyer Get Paid?
Unlike a regular attorney who charges by the hour, car accident lawyers charge a contingency fee for taking on your settlement case. This means that neither the lawyer nor his/her firm will get paid unless you recover a financial settlement. In this case, the law firm or lawyer will be given a percentage of this settlement received either from a jury verdict or car insurance settlement.
What Percentage Does the Lawyer Get from a Car Accident Settlement?
The percentage that a lawyer can make in a contingency fee agreement will vary. The typical charge is between 25 and 40 percent. One-third or 33 percent is the industry standard. For instance, if you recover $100,000 from a car accident settlement and the contingent fee is set at 25%, then your lawyer will receive $25,000.
The percentage of your contingency fee will depend on whether the personal injury suit was settled out of court or after a trial and jury verdict. In case the suit is settled before going to court, the contingency fee is usually lower. However, if the suit goes to trial and is pending on a jury verdict, then your attorney may demand a contingency fee percentage of up to 40 percent.
If you take the previous example, if this case had gone to court, then your attorney would receive $40,000.
Other Types of Fee Arrangements
Contingency fees are just one way that a lawyer can receive payment from a car accident settlement. Some attorneys may request a starting retainer fee to work on your case. Then at the end of the case, they may collect a contingency fee. However, you may subtract this amount from the percentage due at the end of the case. For instance, if you paid $2,000 as a retainer fee and received $90,000 in your settlement. If the contingency fee was 33%, then your attorney would receive $28,000, not $30,000.
The flat fee payment system is usually not used in car accident settlement cases. It may be required if legal representation is required for drafting and or responding to another legal letter. The fees may vary from $300 to $1,000.
Other Fees and Expenses
Depending upon the terms of your contract with the lawyer or firm, you might be responsible for other litigation expenses and upfront court fees, i.e. obtaining expert witnesses, medical records, police records, etc.
Most personal injury attorneys require their clients to pay these other fees and expenses as they occur. If you are unable to pay these fees, your case will not proceed until payment is made.
Larger personal injury firms will cover these other fees and expenses. They will then deduct them from your final settlement. For example, let’s assume your car accident settlement is settled at $100,000. According to the terms of your contract, the other fees and expenses will be deducted from this settlement. If your lawyer incurred $15,000 in expenses, then he or she will receive this amount as reimbursement and $30,000 for their legal services. This means you will receive a final settlement of $55,000.
Most lawyers and firms make their contingency fees negotiable. You may discuss these and arrive at an agreement before signing the contract.
Is hiring a car accident lawyer worth it?
Generally speaking, the severity of your injuries will be the deciding factor. If you have incurred significant injuries, then an accident lawyer can bring great value to your case.