Lawyers and Fees
Compensation from a personal injury claim can help you cover the costs of your medical expenses, lost wages due to missed work, general pain and suffering, and everyday living expenses. Personal injuries due to the negligence of other parties can result from car collisions, slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, and more.
Hiring a lawyer who specializes in personal injury cases can provide assistance in gathering medical evidence, negotiating with the other party, and ensuring an overall successful and smooth case. It may be a good idea to be prepared for what kind of compensation your personal injury lawyer will receive in the event that you win your case.
A contingency fee is what your lawyer will charge you for handling your personal injury case, and as the name suggests, it is contingent on if you win your case, and how much money you receive for your settlement.
Most lawyers charge a contingency fee of between 25 and 40% of your settlement amount. Some states limit the size of a contingency fee that a lawyer can charge. Note that it is possible for you to negotiate the contingency fee with your lawyer or develop an alternate form of payment.
The Size of Your Personal Injury Case
If you happen to settle your personal injury case with the other party without having to go to court, your lawyer cannot make over 33% in contingency fees. In the most common personal injury cases, your lawyer will ask for a 33.33% contingency fee, or one third of your settlement. For example, if you win a $3,000 settlement for your personal injury claim, you will get $2,000 and your lawyer will get $1,000.
For a bigger and more involved case that turns into lawsuit in court, there will be a larger intended settlement and a higher contingency fee for the attorney. If you settle the case after it goes to a lawsuit, the lawyer can receive up to 40% of your settlement money.
Costs and Expenses
The regular costs and expenses of your case can be taken out of the settlement money or charged to you as they come about. These costs also increase as the lawsuit gets more and more serious. Costs and expenses that a lawyer will charge you for can include:
- Copies of medical records and police reports
- Office expenses, such as related faxes and copies
- Costs involving legal research pertaining to your case
- Court costs, including deposition and filing fees
- Investigator and expert witness fees
If you lose your personal injury case and it is dismissed, you will not get any settlement money, and neither will your lawyer. In other words, you do not have to pay your lawyer if you lose your case.
Also note that lawyers do not charge you for initial consultations at the beginning of your personal injury case. This gives you the luxury of interviewing a couple of different lawyers to find a good fit for your case.