In almost all personal injury cases, lawyers charge a contingency fee. Such a fee system allows an injured party to afford an experienced lawyer even though they do not have the physical cash.
In this contingency fee arrangement, the lawyer’s fees are deducted from the settlement in the case — or the final verdict after the trial. A lot of personal injury lawyers also deduct expenses that had previously been covered by the attorney. The attorney’s contingency fee percentage typically varies based on how far the case has gone.
Contingency Fee Percentages
A personal injury lawyer charges a contingency fee to cover the expenses of your case. In some states, the percentage is limited, and a lawyer cannot take more than a particular percentage as a contingency fee. Most fees fall between 33 and 40%, but injured individuals can always negotiate for a reduced percentage. In most cases, the personal injury lawyer receives 33.33% of the settlement. For instance, if you are awarded $30,000 in damages in your case, you’ll receive about $20,000 while your lawyer gets $10,000.
Settlement Before You File a Lawsuit
A lot of states allow shifting fee limits which are based on the particular stage of your case. Your attorney should send the wrongdoer a demand letter. The letter has to explain the inflicted injuries and also demand payment. At this point, if you have a viable case, the wrongdoer will make a counteroffer, among other negotiations. This happens before you a lawsuit is filed. Where you settle come to a settlement before filing a lawsuit, it’s likely that the attorney will not receive up to 33% of the settlement sum.
Settlement After Filing your Lawsuit
The wrongdoer in your case may not take the settlement negotiations seriously, and some may even fail to answer any demand letters from you. At this point, if your case is severe, you can file a lawsuit. The law, in most states, ensure that if your settlement comes after the filing of the lawsuit, the lawyer is allowed to receive a much higher percentage, usually 40%.
Costs and Expenses
A lot of personal injury lawyers cover all costs and expenses during the case and deduct them from the settlement. Some other lawyers charge for costs and expenses when they become due. In situations where you opt to pay for all costs and expenses, your case will not proceed until payment is made.
The costs and expenses that are incurred in personal injury cases include;
- Medical records
- Expert witness fees
- Police reports
- Filing fees
- Trial exhibits.
These costs and expenses might be high, particularly if the settlement doesn’t occur until the trial is near. The attorney’s final percentage with fees, costs, and expenses might end up adding up to 45 and 60% of the case settlement.
For instance, if you settle your case after a lawsuit is filed for about $30,000. There must have been various expenses that your attorney covered amounting to $4,000. The lawyer has to receive about 40% of the settlement as lawyer’s fees which while amount to $12,000. The attorney will deduct $4,000 for expenses from the settlement. Here, the attorney will receive about $16,000 of the settlement amount.