If you have been a victim in a car accident, and the other driver was at fault, you must get in touch with a lawyer in Florida. Do hire the right lawyer for yourself.
A majority of car accident lawyers tend to charge for their services in a unique way. This is opposite to the hourly fee which most firms charge in some other types of injury cases. The basic car accident lawyer is likely to charge a contingency fee to handle an injury case. A contingency fee implies that the Florida law firm will not get paid any fees if you do not recover money in your personal injury case. The lawyer or law firm is likely to get paid a percentage of money that is given through a car insurance settlement or verdict.
You must understand how contingency fees work. This would enable you to set the right type of expectations.
What is the Contingency Percentage?
The percentage which a personal injury attorney can receive in a contingency fee agreement tends to differ. However, in general, it ranges from 25 to 40 percent. On average, 33 percent is standard. In general, a contingency fee percentage may differ based on whether a personal injury lawsuit has to be filed against the other driver. If the personal injury case settles prior to going to court, the percentage might be lower than the right amount. However, if settlement takes place after a lawsuit is filed and after the defendant has served an answer to your complaint, the lawyer’s share may heighten to forty percent. The same applies if the case proceeds to trial and a certain jury verdict is attained.
You must speak with your Florida lawyer about the contingency fee. Make sure to review your contract for various legal services. In case you fail to understand the fee arrangement as stated in the contract, make sure to ask your attorney to give you a proper explanation.
In addition, keep in mind that the fee is negotiable. An injury case is a cut and dry case if the fault for the car accident and your damages are pretty evident. Also, in such cases, the defendant tends to have car insurance. You too have many pieces of evidence to strengthen up your claims. In such cases, you can negotiate a lower contingency percentage. You need not give up a third of your compensation.
What are the fees and costs involved?
On the basis of the lawyer and your contract for legal services, you may/may not be responsible for some direct court fees plus several other litigation costs. The latter includes the expense of getting medical records and police reports, expert witness fees, and court reporter fees. Most personal injury law firms need the client to pay these fees since they become due. If it is mentioned in your contract that you are answerable and responsible for these expenses, you can expect a personal injury firm to contact you and look for payment as the fees become due. If you are not able to pay these fees, your case is likely not to proceed unless there is a proper payment.
Most of the large injury law firms tend to cover all fees and costs. However, the fees and costs are likely to be cut down from your settlement/final judgment. You must make sure that your attorney does not count their fee while doing the net settlement. It implies that the amount left after case costs are cut down. This is a basic arrangement. However, there are certain law firms that tend to heighten their pay by taking their money out in the beginning.
What are some of the other fee arrangements?
Keep in mind that not every case would involve a pure contingency fee arrangement. Attorneys may gather a certain retainer to start your case. He/she might gather a contingency fee at the end of your injury case. However, if you are able to recover the money, the amount already paid to the attorney must be cut down from the percentage because of the lawyer.
It has to be kept in mind that a majority of car accident cases do not involve a flat fee payment for various legal services. In general, flat-fee arrangements are reserved for cases that are simple. A law firm might charge a flat fee where the legal representation only involves drafting and giving response to a demand letter. In such cases, the fee might range from $300 to $1,000.
What would you get when you pay high fees?
When your car accident attorney tells you that his/her fee is nearly forty percent, you can ask her if there is any space for flexibility. If he/she says no, further negotiation options are not available to you. Still, you need to think about the vital things that your car accident attorney does which are valuable. It has to be kept in mind that a genuine accident lawyer would investigate and look at your injury case. Also, he/she would file all the papers in a timely fashion. He would attend court hearings, file plus argue motions. Good lawyers take and defend depositions as well as write interrogatories. Above all, they would communicate with you about the injury case. The lawyer must take the case to trial if required. The only other alternative is to negotiate a proper settlement. The amount of fee is not a factor here. A professional South Florida car accident attorney has special negotiation skills. Thus, he/she would negotiate ably to win you the best possible settlement.
There are certain lawyers who are just expensive than others. The fee that is charged tends to differ on the basis of things like the complexity of the injury case, the severity of the injury, the possible duration of the case, the location where you are residing, etc. In areas where the cost of living is high, attorney fees can run toward the greater end of the scale.