Lawyers are expensive, right? That’s what most people think. But the reality is that a good personal injury lawyer can actually make you money. How so? Well, most personal injury lawyers work on what is known as a contingency fee basis. That structure means you don’t pay anything out of pocket to start a case. The firm will front all initial costs, and any legal fees will later be deducted from your successful monetary settlement. If, for whatever reason, you don’t win, you pay nothing. As in $0.
This risk-free arrangement motivates the personal injury lawyer working for you to attain the highest settlement possible. And this setup also allows everyone access to the legal system regardless of financial status. It’s literally win-win.
What is a Typical Contingency Fee Percentage?
Most contingency fee arrangements fall between 33-40% of a personal injury settlement or damages awarded after a favorable verdict. While that may sound like a lot, remember that people with representation typically get higher settlements.
In fact, one study by the Insurance Research Council finds that personal injury lawyers can obtain settlements as much as three-and-a-half times higher. They also report that 85% of payouts for bodily injury claims go to individuals with attorneys.
In other words, you could try to represent yourself, but it could actually cost you more money in the long run! So, why not get the help?
How Much Can I Pocket if I Win?
What kind of money are we talking about here? That depends largely on the kind of claim you are filing. However, when averaged across all personal injury claim types filed in the United States, the median settlement payout is about $31,000. If a case goes to trial, the final amount may be markedly higher (though 95% of cases settle before going to court).
Asbestos exposure and medical malpractice claims tend to have the highest monetary payouts, which can be in the hundreds of thousands or even millions. Slip-and-fall injuries usually settle anywhere from $33,000-$160,000 unless it goes to court. In that case, the award could again be as much as a million dollars depending on the jury’s decision. Dog bites are another common personal injury suit, and the average insurance settlement is around $50,000.
When you then do the math, you can see how a personal injury lawyer’s contingency fee becomes money well spent. Also, keep in mind that payouts for personal injury cases are not considered taxable income by the IRS. Bonus!
What Else Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Do for Me?
To begin with, a personal injury lawyer can help remove some of your stress! When bills are piling up and you’re hurting, the last thing you need to worry about is the legal stuff. A personal injury lawyer can make sure you have the right documents, witnesses, and filings you need in place.
But beyond that, a personal injury lawyer will have experience with these kinds of cases. Most people don’t have the complex legal or insurance knowledge to effectively stand up to insurance companies.
Your attorney will also help you calculate what your case might be worth. That will help keep you from accepting a settlement that is less than you deserve. Remember, insurance companies are likely to push you to accept their first offer. This is because they know that if you get a personal injury lawyer, they’ll probably have to pay you more!
However, the most important takeaway is to remember your attorney won’t get paid unless they get a settlement for you. As a result, they won’t waste your time by taking on a case they don’t think they can win.
Consider having a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer today and let them handle the complicated legal aspects. That way you can put your focus where it should be — on your recovery. Because good health is priceless!
Ready to see if you may qualify? Complete your free online personal injury case evaluation now!
Kimberly Dawn Neumann
Kimberly Dawn Neumann is a multi-published NYC-based magazine and book writer whose work has appeared in a wide variety of publications ranging from Forbes to Cosmopolitan. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maryland, College of Journalism. For more, visit: www.KDNeumann.com, Instagram @dancerscribe, and Twitter @KimberlyNeumann