Sometimes you may become the part of some accident case and you will be struggling to get the right compensation for your case. You may not have the financial capacity to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to plead your case. There is the public defender, but, he will only work for the accused people. So again, if you are in such a dilemma, your only option is to hire an accident lawyer with the hope of finding some money to pay him for his work. It is in this situation that the contingency fee system can help you.
You might be struggling to make the ends meet inside your family. The accident might cause huge financial loss in different ways. But since the contingency system of paying the accident lawyer is working, you can be at ease about your case.
How Does It Work?
According to the contingency fee agreement, the accident lawyer whom you are hiring will be paid only after he successfully ends the case. The lawyer here is not paid in advance or in the middle of the case but at the end when he gets the right amount of compensation for the client. The attorney’s fee is contingent on the success of the case. This contingency system assures that even a person who isn’t rich can use a good accident lawyer to plead his case.
At the successful end of the case the lawyer and the complainant will divide the received amount according to the deal that they had agreed upon earlier. Usually, if the case is settled out of the court, the lawyer will get 40% of the amount and the client will get the 60%.
The rates are not fixed and can be negotiated with the accident lawyer. But the underlying principle is the same always. If there is no successful end to the case, there will not be payment to the lawyer because there will be nothing to divide. Therefore the experienced lawyers take up only those cases which they are sure that they can win.
The division of the amount received will also depend upon the case costs and the liens.
Case Costs And The Contingency Fee
The contingency fee rate of the lawyer will depend on the case costs. The case cost includes all the money that was spent with regard to the proceedings of the case. This includes the money spend on police report, investigator fees, medical bills, filing fees, mediation fees, expert witness fees, arbitrator fees, deposition costs and other costs of service.
The method in which the lawyer wants to take the case costs should be agreed upon earlier. Some lawyers take it before the division of the amount. Some others take it after the division from the part of the client. This case cost can increase so much in some cases where the experts are used by the lawyers in the case. The fees for these experts are so high that the lawyers mostly use them only towards the end of the case, that too if it seems very necessary to do so.
Liens And The Contingency Fee
Even after the attorney’s fee is paid, the remaining amount may or may not come to the pockets of the client. It depends on the liens associated with the amount. There are some automatic liens like ambulance bills and emergency room care bills. By statute they have liens and can thus claim the money once the case is settled. They have the automatic liens most of the time. In some cases the amount repaid will be reduced by the fee of the attorney, but this is a complicated process depending on the type of lien.
The attorney will not usually have a choice about the lien because the defendant also writes the name of the lien holder on the cheque before giving out the money. The experienced attorneys will know this and so would prevent this from happening and will make the carrier to make separate cheques.
There can also be the liens which are not really automatic but the ones which are agreed by the client and the lawyer. For example if the person who makes the claim is not able to get the proper medical care because of his lack of finances, he can make a lien with the doctor that he will pay the treatment fees soon after he gets the settlement amount.
What If The Claim Is Lost?
If the lawyer loses the claim, the client is not entitled to give any fee to the lawyer. But if the case goes to the court and the lawyer loses the trial, the defendant will be responsible to recover the costs of the lawyer. The statutory offer mechanism can be used to settle if the defendant is agreeing to it.
The whole contingency system of lawyer fee can help you out in your accident case if you are unable to hire an experienced lawyer for a high amount. Make sure that you know well about the system and its work before you go for it.