Each year, almost 40 million people seek medical attention for personal injuries.
Car accidents, slip and falls, and workplace injuries are some of the most common reasons why individuals seek the help of personal injury lawyers.
A lot of the time, injured individuals get bogged down by medical bills, missed work, and other inevitabilities of getting hurt.
The question is, what are typical attorney fees for personal injury? Can most people who get hurt afford a lawyer?
Keep reading to learn all about typical and potential attorney fees for all types of injury cases.
Personal Injury Cases Defined
Most people think of car accidents when they think about the possibility of ever needing to hire an injury attorney.
Personal injuries occur in a number of ways, however. Here are some of the most common occurrences:
- Slip and falls
- Car accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Premises liability
- Product liability
- Defamation claims
- Dog bites
- Construction Injuries
Personal injury lawyers handle pain and suffering caused by everything from a sprained wrist to wrongful death. You can learn more here about your legal rights and damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Most Attorneys Work on Contingency Fees
Most personal injury lawyers work on contingency. What this means is that they don’t demand that accident victims pay attorneys’ fees upfront or out of their own pockets.
Rather, personal injury case fees are typically paid through a contingent fee agreement, in which an attorney will get paid a percentage of the total settlement.
It gives those suffering from personal injuries a break, as they’ll be more likely to seek help without having to fork over a huge chunk of cash they don’t have. In turn, clients can rest assured knowing their lawyer has more incentive to win as much compensation as possible, based on what is fair.
If there’s no reward through a settlement agreement or after a trial, then the lawyer doesn’t get paid.
It’s Important to Ask About Court Fees and Litigation Costs
Even though most personal injury attorneys work on contingency fees, many of those fee agreements are subject to court fees and litigation costs.
These can include fees from case components like:
- The fee for filing a lawsuit
- Expert witness fees
- Medical records
- Police reports
- Trial exhibits
- Investigators and other experts
What Percentage Do Lawyers Take for Personal Injury?
It’s not uncommon for a lawyer to take about 33% of any settlement. Most lawyers take between 33% and 40%. If you aren’t comfortable with the percentage or the way fees are determined, some attorneys will be willing to negotiate.
Say you receive a settlement for $60,000 with a 33% contingency fee. That means you’ll get $40,000, and your lawyer will get $20,000.
However, it’s important to ask if additional costs are considered in that 33%. Otherwise, you could end up getting your portion only after the 33% and additional fees are taken out.
Sliding Scale Can Affect the Percentage
A lot of lawyers will present a fee agreement in which the fee percentage is dependent on when the case gets resolved. More often than not, attorneys call this method a “sliding scale.”
It could be that if your attorney is able to reach a fair settlement outside of court, that they’d take only that 33%. If you end up having to file a lawsuit or go to trial, however, the fee could increase to 40%.
It’s important to consider that you could be losing more of your settlement the longer your case goes on. Rest assured, though, that 96% of personal injury claims get settled outside of the courtroom.
Still, it’s always crucial to discuss payment terms and options with your attorney beforehand.
The Settlement Check Goes to Your Lawyer First
The full amount of the settlement check will inevitably go to your lawyer to make sure they get paid for services rendered.
Because so many personal injury lawyers work on contingency fees, it’s essential for their livelihood and their firms’ success that they don’t run the risk of having to chase down money earned.
As soon as your attorney receives the settlement check, they’ll contact you. Typically, they’ll also provide an itemized list of what they’ve deducted to cover any associated costs.
Every lawyer does things differently, so remember to ask beforehand if they plan to account for fees in addition to their percentage fee. If so, will they take those costs out before or after they take their cut?
If there’s any dispute on your end, they’ll likely put the amount in a trust account until the issue gets resolved.
You’ll Still Be Better off With the Help of an Attorney
It might be overwhelming at first to imagine losing a significant portion of your settlement. If you look at what your attorney does, however, and the fact that they’re essentially working for free if you don’t win, it’s easy to see how it’s worth the trade-off.
After car accidents, it’s not uncommon for insurance companies to make their own offers to victims. While it can be tempting to jump on an offer, an attorney will likely get you more.
The reason is that attorneys are always thinking ahead to future medical costs and other past, current, and future aspects of pain and suffering that are only fair to account for.
Typical Attorney Fees for Personal Injury Are Fair
Typical attorney fees for personal injury tend to land around 33% of a settlement.
Some lawyers charge more, depending on how long a case takes. It’s important to discuss payment options and terms with your lawyer before you sign any paperwork.
The last thing you’d want is to end up in disagreement when you finally receive a settlement for your pain and suffering.
Are you unable to work from a personal injury and looking to save some money? Take a look at some of our helpful tips and suggestions in the Earn Money section of our blog!