You might be awarded a large sum after a personal injury case, but a significant portion of this will likely go to your lawyer. Rather than an up-front cost, lawyers typically collect a contingency fee, or a percentage of your settlement, as payment for their services. The industry standard for contingency fees is around one-third of your settlement, but this will vary depending on your representation. Knowing the cost breakdown for their fee can help you better prepare your own finances.
What’s the Maximum Percentage That a Lawyer Can Take?
While there isn’t a set maximum that lawyers are allowed to take from your settlement fee, most will only take a maximum of 33.33 percent. If your lawyer charges 33 percent and you win $100,000 from your case, you will pay your lawyer approximately $33,000. Some lawyers may charge more in rare cases, while others will charge less to entice you to work with them. Lawyers may also adjust their fee based on a sliding scale that takes into account how far your case progresses and at which point it is resolved.
Under a sliding scale fee, a lawyer may take less than 33 percent if they can resolve your case before it gets to court. On the other hand, if they have to file a lawsuit, your lawyer may ask to take up to 40 percent of your winnings as their fee. You may pay even more to them should your case escalate to a full trial, with some lawyers charging up to 50 percent for their contingency fee.
Are There Additional Costs?
Your lawyer’s contingency fee does not cover the expenses you’ll face as you navigate the legal system to collect your award or settlement. The following factors are expenses associated with your case,they and will be deducted from your final settlement todal:
- Filing fees
- Medical records
- Police reports
- Expert witnesses
- Trial exhibits
Once you add up the potential additional costs and your lawyer’s contingency fee, you could pay anywhere from 40 to 65 percent of your settlement to cover them.
How Do Lawyers Collect Their Contingency Fee?
The court typically awards the check for your settlement to your lawyer, who will then deduct the cost for their services. This ensures that lawyers receive payment for their services. You should be prepared to go through your lawyer to collect your payment.
Should I Represent Myself?
Some people are tempted to represent themselves in their personal injury case to avoid paying a contingency fee. However, many people lack the necessary legal skills and training to successfully obtain their maximum settlement.
By cutting corners, plaintiffs can fail to sufficiently defend their rights and can end up settling and walking away with a lower amount than they would have obtained had they worked with a lawyer. Even though a lawyer can bring significant additional expenses, they can end up helping the plaintiff net a higher amount in damages than they would have obtained on their own.
Finding the right attorney for your personal injury case is vital for obtaining the maximum amount for your settlement. Take some time to find one that is experienced in the type of case you need representation for and who has a track record of winning them. Visit this website for more information about things to consider when hiring a motor vehicle accident attorney. While it can take extra time and includes added costs, finding a qualified lawyer can ultimately help you make the best financial recovery possible from an accident.