If you are getting ready to hire a personal injury lawyer to handle a lawsuit involving a recent car accident, you may wonder how much money you will receive from your case. While there are a lot of factors involved with this decision, you are likely to receive a decent settlement amount if you have the proof you need for the case and if you have suffered harm from the event. When the court determines the settlement amount, you should realize that there will be three main things you will have to pay for with this money before you receive your check.
The first thing that will be deducted from your settlement amount will probably be the contingency fees that are owed to your personal injury lawyer. These fees are usually between 33% to 40%, and they will be deducted off of the total settlement amount. This means that your settlement amount will be reduced by approximately one-third right off the top.
In addition to paying your lawyer a contingency fee, he or she might also charge you for some other expenses. These other expenses are billed separately from the contingency fee, and they can include the following expenses:
- Expert witnesses
- Court fees
- Making copies of documents
The total of these expenses are also taken off of the settlement amount, which means they also reduce the amount you will receive.
When you hire a lawyer, you may want to find out if the lawyer calculates the contingency fee based on the gross or net settlement amount. If the lawyer uses the gross amount, the rate for the contingency fee is calculated off the total settlement amount. If the lawyer uses the net rate, he or she will reduce the total settlement amount by the total amount of other expenses before calculating the contingency fee amount.
For example, assume you are receiving a settlement of $100,000 and the contingency rate is 35%. Also assume there are $3,000 in extra expenses. The two methods would result in different calculations:
- Gross method – With this method, the contingency fee would be $35,000 ($100,000 x 35%), so you would receive a check for $62,000.
- Net method – With this method, the contingency fee would be $33,950 ($100,000 - $3,000 = $97,000 x 35%.) Your check would then be for $63,050.
Your own medical bills
Finally, your settlement check will also be reduced if you have medical bills to pay. These would be bills that were not covered by insurance or that you did not already pay.
If you would like to learn more about contingency fees and personal injury law, contact a lawyer such as Jon D. Caminez, PA.