When you hire a Columbia accident lawyer to handle your case, you typically do not pay them anything upfront. The way personal injury lawyers work is that they handle your case for free, but then they get a percentage of your settlement proceeds down the road. They will also cover any costs associated with your case. These monies must also be reimbursed to your South Carolina injury lawyer as soon as your settlement proceeds arrive. The process can seem complicated and confusing to some of our clients. So here, we decided to breakdown the process a bit, so you have a better understanding of how your Columbia accident lawyer divides up your settlement proceeds.
If you still have questions about your own car accident case, feel free to contact our office directly. We offer all new clients a free, initial consultation. This gives you a chance to meet with any of our attorneys and ask any questions you may have. It also gives our associates a chance to review your claim and see if it has merit. If it does, then one of our Columbia accident lawyers will offer to represent you and get your paperwork started.
First, Your Columbia Accident Lawyer Must Prove Your Case
Before anyone should think about dividing up your settlement proceeds, your Columbia accident lawyer must prove your case. While more than 95% of all personal injury lawsuits settle out of court, that’s because the plaintiff’s attorney put on enough evidence to convince the defendant’s attorney that they will probably lose in court.
In order for your South Carolina injury lawyer to prove your case, they will have to demonstrate that the other driver was negligent. They can do this by demonstrating the following four things:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care-This is not all that difficult to prove in a motor vehicle accident case. All drivers owe a certain duty of care to other people on the road. At a minimum, drivers are required to follow all local traffic laws.
- Your South Carolina injury lawyer must also show that the defendant breached this duty somehow – There are different ways that your attorney can do this. One simple way is submitting a copy of the police report that shows that the defendant was issued a ticket at the crash scene
- You must show that you were injured – It is not enough that you were involved in a car accident. You must have suffered a physical injury to file a claim. This is one of the reasons we always tell our clients to go to the hospital and get checked out immediately after a car accident
- The final thing you’ll have to show is that the defendant’s behavior caused your damages – This just means you’ll have to connect your injuries to the crash somehow. Unless the defendant’s attorney can show that something intervened between the time you leave the crash scene, and the time you arrive at the hospital, you should satisfy this element.
Once your Columbia car accident lawyer can prove these four elements, you’ll have demonstrated your case for negligence. At this point, your South Carolina injury lawyer will move on toward negotiating the settlement of your claim.
Your South Carolina Injury Lawyer is Paid Their Costs and Fees First
When your settlement check comes into the office, the first thing your South Carolina injury lawyer will do is negotiate the payment so you can get paid. They will review the settlement agreement that you signed with the other party to make sure that it’s correct.
Once this has been confirmed, your attorney will start to divide up the settlement proceeds. The first thing that must be paid are the legal costs associated with your case. These are fronted by the law firm, and they must be paid back in full. Once this has been done, your South Carolina injury lawyer will take their cut of the settlement proceeds. This can be anywhere from 30% to 40% depending on your case and your agreement.
Your Private Health Insurance Company Must Be Paid Second
Once your attorney has negotiated their own fee and replenish the costs to the law firm, you’ll have to pay back any of the medical providers that covered your care immediately after the crash. In situations where the other insurance company refuses to pay your claim, your private health insurance has no choice but to cover your medical care. They do, however, expects to be repaid.
If the insurance carrier fears that you will either not pay them the full amount, or that you may not pursue legal action, they can intervene. By law, insurance companies can file a suit against the defendant on their own. Or they can place a lien against your lawsuit. This means that once your case settles, you’ll be responsible for does not comfortably cover the total medical to your insurance carrier,
Do You Have Any Liens or Judgments Against You?
If you have any judgments that have been filed against you, they may have to be paid before you receive your settlement proceeds. It depends on the type of lien or claim the other party has and whether they have been pursuing the lien.
One type of lien that may be placed against the case itself is on behalf of your Primary Health insurance companies. If your health insurance companies had to pay for any of your medical care related to the accident, they’ll expect to be reimbursed. If you are Columbia accident lawyer negotiates a settlement of your claim, all lienholders must be paid out of the settlement proceeds.
You Have to Trust Your Columbia Accident Lawyer Will Divide the Proceeds Properly
As hard as it may be, especially for someone who’s recently been in an accident, you’re going to have to trust that your Columbia accident lawyer is being fair. None of our South Carolina accident lawyers would ever try to take a portion of a client settlement that they weren’t entitled to. In addition, all of the payments made out of your settlement proceeds will be clearly demarcated on an Itemized list for you.
In the meantime, if you have recently been involved in a car accident and aren’t sure where to go, give us a call. We can review your claim, answer any questions you may have, and moves toward resolving this matter.