IS IT WORTH HIRING A CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER?
Seventeen million people visit Tampa annually, and the numbers of fatal car crashes in the city are among the highest in the country. Many victims choose to hire a car accident attorney in Tampa to deal with their insurer on their behalf. An attorney, who is well-versed in laws regarding auto accident claims can help you receive full compensation for your losses. However, considering the high costs of hiring a lawyer, first you have to find out whether the investment is worth or not. The following aspects will help you decide:
As opposed to a standard hourly fee, auto accident attorneys have their own unique ways to charge their clients. If you hire an accident lawyer to fight your case, you will be expected to pay a ‘contingency fee’ for his services. This is a kind of conditional arrangement, where you are expected to pay only when there is a favorable result, that is, after you have won your case and received your compensation dollars from the insurer.
How Does Contingency Fee Work
There is no hard and fast rule regarding how much contingency percentage a lawyer can ask for. It may vary from state to state. Although 33.33 percent or one-third is a well accepted norm across the country. In many states the percentage can be as high as 40 percent. Similarly, there are states where the contingency fee does not exceed 25 percent. For example, if you get a compensation of $90,000 for the damage, you will have to pay your attorney $30,000. However, you can always negotiate with your attorney for a lower contingency percentage. Speak with your attorney about his remuneration in advance, and carefully review the contract. If you cannot understand any point relating to the fee arrangement, request him to explain it to you before you sign it.
Court Fee and Other Litigation Expenses
There are certain litigation expenses that have to be cleared upfront. These include case filing, court reporter and expert witness fee, charges for serving summonses and subpoenas, and costs of obtaining medical records and police reports.
However, if you are working with a big firm, you may not be required to pay for these expenses upfront. They are typically covered in the firm’s fee, and are deducted from the money you receive after the claim settlement.
Remember, your lawyer is supposed to take his fee out of the ‘net settlement’, which refers to the amount left after litigation expenses are deducted. Make sure that the point is clearly mentioned in the contract.
Some law firms may charge you an initial retainer fee to start the formalities. In that case, don’t forget to deduct the amount from the contingency percentage that you pay him after the settlement.
Suppose you have paid your attorney $2000 as retainer, and afterward received $60,000 in compensation. This means, you owe your attorney $20,000 in contingency fee. But the final amount, which you will pay him is $18,000 ($20,000 minus $2,000), NOT $20,000.
Legal services are expensive throughout the US, Floridian cities are no exception. So if you are mulling over the idea of hiring a car accident attorney in Tampa, don’t take any hurried decision. Consider all the litigation expenses and then decide whether it is worth hiring a lawyer or not. Remember, availing legal services will cost you more if you are seeking reimbursement for a considerably high-value medical treatment. In such cases, a competent lawyer can negotiate your damages effectively, compelling the insurance company to offer a fair settlement.
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