When looking for an attorney after being injured in an accident caused by someone else, you may wonder how much your lawyer will take from your settlement. The amount of money a lawyer will take from your settlement depends on various factors.
One of the higher costs will usually be the attorney’s fees. The amount you pay your attorney will depend on your agreement with them. There are a variety of fee structures an attorney may employ, such as:
- Flat rate: In this type of fee arrangement, an attorney will charge a set amount for the entire case, regardless of how much time they spend on it. Flat fees are not common for personal injury claims because these cases can be complex and time-consuming.
- Hourly rate: Sometimes, an attorney may charge an hourly rate. The hourly rate can vary depending on the lawyer’s experience, reputation, and the type of work. Time spent in the trial might be more costly than an office meeting with a client. In your fee arrangement agreement, you should ensure that every attorney and staff member that could work on the case has their hourly rate listed. Additionally, you can request an estimate of the total cost to get a good idea of what will be taken from your settlement.
- Contingency: This is one of the most common payment structures for personal injury cases. Under the contingency fee structure, a lawyer will take a percentage of the settlement amount as their fee. As a result, a lawyer will usually only get paid if they successfully obtain a settlement or award for you.
What Is a Normal Percentage for the Contingency Fee Structure?
Typically, contingency fees for personal injury cases are around 33 to 40 percent. The fee arrangement agreement will set the percentage, meaning if you agree to 33 percent, the attorney will get 33 percent of any compensation you receive.
In some cases, the contingency fee will include court costs, expert witness fees, and other expenses related to the case. However, that is not always the case. You should ensure that your fee agreement outlines what is included in the contingency fee.
Factors That Affect the Contingency Fee Amount
The percentage that an attorney takes may vary depending on a variety of factors, including:
- The complexity of the case: The more complex your case, the more time and resources an attorney will need to put into it to get you the compensation you deserve. Therefore, the more complex the case, the higher the fee.
- Amount of anticipated settlement or judgment: When an attorney reviews your case, they will estimate the recoverable compensation. The higher the case value, the higher the lawyer’s fee.
- Lawyer’s experience and reputation: Attorneys with more experience and good reputations may be able to charge higher percentages of the settlement for their work. As a result, you should always get an idea of an attorney’s experience and track record of success before entering a fee arrangement agreement. A higher percentage will result in a higher fee.
About Attorney Fees
Discussing the fees and payment structure upfront is important when looking for an attorney. The following are some tips for understanding and agreeing to your attorney’s fees:
- Before you enter an agreement, ask for a clear explanation of the fee structure: You should fully understand how the lawyer charges and what expenses will be deducted from the settlement amount.
- Consider other payment structures: If you do not feel comfortable with the contingency fee structure, you can ask if the lawyer uses any other payment arrangements. Generally, contingency is the best for personal injury cases because it doesn’t require upfront costs, and you only have to pay if you have a successful case.
How are Personal Injury Settlements Distributed?
- Attorney fees
- Costs associated with the claim and lawsuit
- Medical bills
- Lien amounts (can include monies paid by your health insurance provider)
Once the deductions are made, the remaining money will be distributed to you.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
When someone else’s wrongdoing injures you, you deserve compensation. Having an attorney fighting for your best interest can make a substantial difference in the money you recover. However, their services aren’t free, so it is important to understand your attorney’s fee structure.
The experienced New York personal injury attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP can answer your questions concerning fee structures during a case evaluation. To discuss your legal options and get the needed representation, contact us today at (212) 779-0057 or complete our online contact form.