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Posted in Personal Injury on July 1, 2022
If you were injured in an accident in New York City and are considering seeking compensation with the help of a personal injury lawyer, you’ll want to know how much of the settlement actually goes into your pocket. Many lawyers advertise a “no win, no fee” arrangement to take your case, but what happens when they do win? How much do you walk away with?
Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee, which means they only get paid if they negotiate a settlement or win at trial. The amount of their fee is typically between 33 ⅓ and 40% of the total amount awarded to you. Each lawyer will have their own fee agreement, and it’s important to read and understand it before you sign it.
Once you’ve agreed to a settlement or your lawyer won in court, the process begins to pay out anyone who is owed money from your settlement. You may see expenses on your attorney’s statement broken out by “fees” and “costs.” Fees generally refer to the amount for the attorney’s legal services. As noted above, that will be a certain percentage of your financial award.
Costs, on the other hand, are expenses for other items related to the case. Some attorneys deduct costs after they deduct their fee for services, but some may deduct costs first. Your arrangement with your lawyer will be spelled out in your engagement letter.
And, you may still have medical bills to pay. All of these have to be paid before you get your check.
Your attorney may have advanced these costs to save you from having to pay anything out of pocket while you’re recovering from your accident. You’ll essentially reimburse them for these costs when you get your settlement.
Common expenses in a personal injury case include costs for:
In some cases, if your attorney does not win your case, you’ll still owe the costs of pursuing the case (but no fees for legal services). Read your fee agreement carefully, and ask questions to make sure you know what happens if your lawyer loses your case.
Medical providers may have a lien on your settlement, which means that you’ll have to pay hospital fees, doctor bills, and other expenses that are either not yet paid or that your health insurance paid on your behalf.
These calculations can get extremely complicated, and a good attorney will work with anyone who has a claim to a portion of your proceeds to maximize your net award.
Once all expenses are paid, the insurance company will write a check to you for the balance. Your lawyer will keep you posted on the timing and the details of how and when you’ll receive your settlement check.
You won’t have a chance later to ask for additional money, so it’s important to take into consideration all of the future consequences of your accident when you accept a settlement. There may be several rounds of negotiation, but you deserve to be compensated for all of your physical injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
A reputable attorney with experience in personal injury law will know how much to ask for in a settlement demand in your case. A skilled attorney will always seek the maximum possible award, but no two accidents are alike, so that means something different in every case.
Some of the factors that can affect how much your case is worth include:
Most personal injury lawsuits are settled by insurance companies, which means the maximum you can get depends on how much coverage is available. If multiple parties are involved, the case can be extremely complicated. All the parties will be pointing fingers at each other (and at you). Although each case is unique, you’ll be better off with an attorney who has handled cases similar to yours.
Considering all of these factors, here’s a sample of what you might walk away with in a hypothetical settlement of $100,000 with an attorney who charges a fee of 33 1/3 %:
The final amount distributed to you: $56,667
This is a simple example, and your case may be drastically different. The take-away is to make sure you understand the factors that could affect your case, what fees and costs may apply, and when those fees will be deducted.
If you need legal assistance, contact the New York City personal injury lawyers at Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation.
We have two convenient locations in New York:
Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – New York City Office
450 7th Ave #1605
New York, NY 10123
Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – Brooklyn Office
26 Court St Suite 2511
Brooklyn, NY 11242