11 Apr, 2022

How Much Do Injury Lawyers Usually Take from Settlements?

Author Todd A. Strong

If you plan to make a personal injury claim, you may want to know – how much do injury lawyers usually take from settlements? Personal injury lawyers usually take between 33% and 40% of your negotiated settlement amount or court award as lawyers’ fees. For instance, if the liable party’s insurer pays you $33,000 as a personal injury settlement and your lawyer’s agreed-upon fees are 33%, your lawyer will collect $11,000. You collect the remaining $22,000. This working arrangement is called a contingency fee basis.

Settlement newspaper headline on money
Settlement newspaper headline on money

In this arrangement, the lawyer deducts his or her fees from the final settlement amount in your case or court award following a favorable verdict. The lawyer will also deduct other costs and expenses associated with your case. If you fail to recover damages, your lawyer will not get paid. The contingency fee basis protects you from incurring out-of-pocket expenses because of your injury. It also ensures that injured victims have access to legal representation regardless of their financial circumstances.

What Is a Contingency Fee?

A contingency fee is a fee that is contingent on the success of your case. In Illinois personal injury cases, the contingency fee is usually calculated as a percentage of the compensation you recover.

Personal Injury Attorney Todd Strong

A personal injury lawyer collects the contingency fee when he or she wins your case. You must agree to the percentage charged by your lawyer and sign a fee agreement before the attorney takes your case. The percentage often ranges from 33% to 40% of your settlement offer or court award. Sometimes, you can negotiate this percentage with your lawyer before signing the fee agreement. 

A contingency fee arrangement allows you to file a lawsuit and obtain legal representation that otherwise might have been unaffordable. It also pushes your lawyer to pursue the highest financial compensation in your case.

Other Costs and Expenses Related to Personal Injury Cases 

Most injury lawyers will pay the costs and expenses associated with personal injury cases as they arise. The lawyers will then subtract those expenses from the client’s final award. It’s uncommon for your lawyer to require you to pay the case costs and expenses as they arise.

Potential costs and expenses involved in personal injury cases include:

  • Medical records and police reports 
  • Expert witness fees 
  • Private investigators 
  • Postage and filing fees 
  • Depositions 
  • Transcripts and trial exhibits 

Case costs and expenses can rise substantially if the case proceeds to trial. After adding these costs and expenses to the fees, your lawyer’s final share may increase to 50% to 60% of the settlement amount.

Let’s assume that your case settles for $33,000 and your lawyer spent $3,800 on your case costs and expenses. Depending on the fee agreement, the lawyer will collect $13,200 in legal fees, which is 40% of the total payout. The lawyer will also collect $3,800 from the payout for costs and expenses incurred. Ultimately, the lawyer will collect $17,000 of the $33,000, translating to 52% of the settlement amount.

Common Questions About Personal Injury Cases 

What Should Be My Priority After I Get Injured?

Prioritize your health after getting injured. You have a legal duty to mitigate your damages. Simply put, you must take reasonable steps to improve your physical well-being and reduce the effects and losses arising from your injuries. Seeing a doctor immediately after an injury is a perfect place to start.

Obtaining immediate medical help marks the start of the journey to recovering from your injuries. It also helps document the nature and extent of your injury. Medical records and doctor’s notes form a crucial part of the evidence for negotiating a good settlement offer in an injury case. 

What Is the Value of My Injury Claim? 

Your lawyer must collect and review all the necessary information to develop an accurate estimate of your case value. The lawyer will consider your immediate and future medical bills. The lawyer will also consider wages and other employment benefits lost, or that could be lost, in the future because of your injury. Other factors that will affect your claim value include physical pain, emotional upheaval, and permanent aspects of your injuries like permanent disfigurement and disability. 

When Will My Injury Claim Settle?        

Personal injury cases do not have a specific timeline. It’s hard to predict with precision when an injury case will settle because every injury is unique. Some injury cases settle within a few months. Others may take up to two years. 

How Do I File a Personal Injury Claim in Illinois? 

The injury claim process commences when you approach a lawyer to establish whether you have grounds for legal action. The lawyer will listen to your concerns and examine the circumstances of your injury before deciding whether you should pursue damages or not. If he or she can, your lawyer will perform a full case investigation. 

This investigation may involve reviewing photographic evidence, video surveillance, medical documents, and how your injuries have affected your ability to work. It also involves reviewing witness statements and applicable laws. Your lawyer might also work with outside professionals, including investigators and retired police officers. 

After an investigation, your lawyer will demand a specific settlement amount from the at-fault party’s insurer by sending a demand letter. Your injury case will usually settle after negotiations between your lawyer and the liable insurance company. If not, your case will go to trial. Involving a lawyer in all steps in a personal injury case can increase your odds of getting a favorable outcome in your injury claim or lawsuit. 

How Do I Prove Negligence in My Injury Case? 

Negligence must exist for you to have a valid personal injury claim. You must show that your injuries directly stemmed from another party’s negligence to recover compensation.

First, you must show that the defendant owed you a duty of care to ensure your safety. A driver, for instance, has a legal obligation to drive safely to ensure the safety of other road users. Similarly, a medical provider has a legal obligation to treat a patient with the standard of care and competence that another similarly-skilled medical provider would have exercised under similar circumstances. 

Once you prove the duty of care existed, you must show that the defendant violated that duty. In other words, the defendant’s conduct was beyond what would have been expected from a reasonable person in the same conditions. 

You must show that you suffered injuries because of that negligence. You must also prove that you have incurred losses and expenses because of your injuries and are entitled to monetary damages. 

Who Will Receive the Settlement Check? 

The settlement check typically goes to the lawyer. Your lawyer will notify you once he or she receives the check and provide you with a list of all deductions. The lawyer will deduct the lawyer’s fees and other costs and expenses associated with your case before preparing a check for the remaining amount and sending it to you.

About The Author

Photo of Todd A. Strong
Illinois workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyer Todd A. Strong is the founder of Strong Law Offices in Peoria, Illinois. Todd brings considerable legal knowledge, experience, and skill to the table to ensure injured victims throughout the state are treated with respect, dignity, and fairness.