When you find yourself the victim of personal injury, the ensuing legal process can feel overwhelming. Not least of your concerns may be the financial implications: specifically, what percentage do lawyers typically charge for a personal injury case? Let’s break down the answer. A significant number of personal injury attorneys work on a “contingency fee” model. This means that the lawyer’s payment is contingent (or dependent) on winning the case. If the lawyer does not win, they do not get paid.
If they win, they will take a percentage of the award or settlement as their fee. This arrangement can provide peace of mind to clients who may be financially strained due to their injuries, as it eliminates the need for upfront costs or hourly fees. A personal injury lawyer’s percentage can vary, but it typically ranges from 33% to 40% of the total award or settlement. Several factors can influence this percentage, including the complexity of the case, the lawyer’s experience and reputation, and whether the case goes to trial.
Negotiating the Settlement
If a lawyer successfully negotiates a settlement before filing a lawsuit or going to trial, they will typically take around 33% (or one-third) of the payment. For example, if you receive a settlement of $90,000, your lawyer would receive $30,000.
Going to Trial
If your case proceeds to trial, the percentage can increase due to the additional work involved in preparing and presenting a court case. The percentage can rise to around 40% to reflect this increased workload. So, for a court-awarded sum of $90,000, the lawyer might take $36,000.
Expenses and Costs
Aside from the contingency fee, personal injury lawyers may also charge for “costs and expenses” incurred during the case. These can include court costs, costs for obtaining medical records, charges for expert witnesses, and so forth. Your lawyer may deduct these expenses from your award or settlement before or after calculating the contingency fee, depending on your agreement.
Remember, lawyer’s fees are often negotiable. Discuss the fee with your lawyer before you agree to a contingency fee arrangement. Ensure you comprehend what the fee includes and whether it deducts costs and expenses before or after calculating the fee.
Navigating a personal injury case is stressful enough without the added worry of lawyer’s fees. Understanding that most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, and what that entails, can help alleviate some of that financial stress. While a typical fee falls between 33% and 40%, this is not set in stone, and understanding your agreement thoroughly is vital. Clear, open communication with your lawyer about fees and costs can ensure there are no surprises and that you are comfortable with the arrangement. The ultimate goal, of course, is achieving justice and fair compensation for your injuries. A contingency fee agreement aligns your lawyer’s interests with yours, encouraging them to work diligently to secure the best outcome for your case.