What Percentage Do Lawyers Take for Personal Injury Cases?

Personal injury lawyers play an important role in settlement negotiations to recover full compensation for their clients’ injuries. They evaluate the injuries, verify the medical records and any outstanding liens, and negotiate an offer from any insurance companies or defendants. Unlike many lawyers, however, most personal injury attorneys charge a contingency fee instead of an hourly fee for their help resolving the injury claim. A contingency fee is a percentage of any compensation obtained as part of an injury settlement or jury verdict. What percent do lawyers take for personal injury cases? Here’s a brief overview.

How Percentage Fees for Personal Injury Lawyers Work

In general, a lawyer in a personal injury case receives a contingency fee upon a settlement or a jury verdict. The contingency is usually one-third of the gross settlement pre- suit and forty percent if the case proceeds to trial. This means that a lawyer will not take an attorney fee until the contingency occurs. Until there is a resolution of the case, there is no contingency triggered. A contingency fee is just that – contingent on a satisfactory outcome of your claim. If it does not resolve, then the attorney will not take a fee. The costs of pursuing the case will be the responsibility of the client whether they win or lose. As an example, the case settles for a $30,000 gross settlement. The attorney will receive $10,000 as the attorney fee. This will leave the client with $20,000. Of that amount, the client will need to reimburse all outstanding medical liens. The balance is compensation for damages.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Contingency Fees for Personal Injury Cases

There are various advantages for a client when a lawyer charges a contingency fee. Among those is the ability to hire an experienced lawyer without having to pay an expensive upfront retainer to cover the hours of work required to resolve the case. On top of this, lawyers are incentivized to work tirelessly to obtain an outcome that is satisfactory to the client. Without a resolution that is accepted by the client, the contingency fee will not be charged. Contingency fees are different from hourly fees in that an hourly fee may end up being less in total than a contingency fee depending on the outcome of the case. It just depends how complex the case is, whether or not your budget allows you to pay an upfront hourly retainer and the various insurance coverages that may be involved. Usually, contingency fee arrangements are a necessity in injury cases especially where the client is not able to work and benefits by obtaining the maximum compensation possible without having to pay an upfront retainer.

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Always Ask About Fees Before Hiring an Injury Lawyer

If you were recently injured and are considering hiring a lawyer, you should understand what the fee arrangement will be and ask for any clarification before signing any contract to hire the lawyer. This includes asking about the costs of the case (such as requesting medical records or postage). Some firms will also recoup the advanced costs or request a small retainer be placed with the firm’s trust account to cover these expenses. You should always ask the lawyer what their fee is, when it will be collected and any other considerations that might apply. You should also always ask about the attorney’s experience handling injury cases to ensure that with this fee, you are obtaining qualified counsel for your case.

About the Authors: Sawan & Sawan is a multi-generational, family owned law firm practicing law in the areas of car accidents, truck accidents, insurance claims, personal injury, and more. Our firm practices law in Ohio (Toledo, Columbus), Georgia, and Michigan.

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Dennis P. Sawan

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Christopher A. Sawan


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