If you are considering hiring a personal injury claims lawyer, then you must be wondering about how much it will cost you. Although each individual accident attorney may charge you slightly different amount, most injury lawyers charge in a similar way.
Let's look at all the costs that are involved with working with a injury claims lawyer:
Most accident injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you will only pay the personal injury claims lawyer if you get money from your insurance settlement. The benefit of this form of payment is that it depends on the performance of your injury attorney.
If your lawyer is not able to get a settlement, that means you don't owe them any contingent fees. You pay ONLY if the lawyer gets you a settlement.
Typically, the contingency fee is a percentage of your final insurance settlement (normally one-third). This benefits you because you avoid the risk of paying a lot of money upfront without getting any compensation from the insurance companies. The risk has been shifted to the personal injury claims lawyer.
As an additional benefit, this tends to motivate accident attorneys to help you win more money. Otherwise, they don't get paid.
Before you hire a personal injury claims lawyer, you will have to sign a contract that describes the details of your payments. This contract, known as the contingency fee agreement, will specifically list the amount you owe the lawyer once your case is settled.
However, the final settlement that you end up keeping for yourself, will be less than the personal injury claims lawyer's contingency fee. That's because before the lawyer takes their cut of your settlement, they will first subtract several costs related to your injury case. These are costs that the lawyer may pay out of their own pocket to properly start your claim.
This typically includes:
- Court filing fees
- Deposition Costs
- Investigation costs
- Witnesses fee
- Photocopying expenses
- Process server fees
The lump sum amount you receive from your car accident insurance claim is know as "recovery". Once the lawyer subtracts all their upfront costs, you are left with what is known as "net recovery". It is from this amount that the lawyer takes their contingent fee.
You should also know that while the contingency fee is based on the performance of your personal injury claims attorney, these other costs are NOT.
You will have to pay these costs regardless of the outcome of your personal injury settlement. So make sure you read you agreement thoroughly and clearly understand the costs associated with filing your insurance claims.
Your final insurance settlement came out to be $50,000. Before the lawyer can take their contingent fee they will first subtract the costs in starting your claim. This included:
Court Filing Fees ($500)
Deposition Costs ($1,000)
Expert Fees ($4,500)
Investigation Cost ($4,000)
Total Costs: $10,000
Your accident attorney will then subtract these costs from your insurance settlement to get the "net recovery".
Net Recovery= Recovery - Costs
Net Recovery= $50,000 - $10,000
Net Recovery= $40,000
After this the lawyer will take their contingent fee ( let's assume 33%)
Lawyer Fee = Net Recovery X Contingency Percentage
Lawyer Fee = $40,000 X 0.33
Lawyer Fee = $13,200
Your takeaway insurance settlement will then be
Your Takeaway = Net Recovery - Lawyer Fee
Your Takeaway = $40,000 - $$13,200
Your Takeaway = $26,800
Since your personal injury claims lawyer will take a large chunk of your insurance settlement, it is important you understand all the costs. Accident attorneys typically take one third of your insurance settlement after you pay for all the other costs with your case. If the costs are too high you may try to negotiate with your auto injury lawyer.