According to the American Bar Association, many personal injury attorneys take cases on a contingency basis. This simply means that they will charge a fee based on the court settlement awarded. The personal injury attorney will not get paid if there is no compensation awarded to their client. Some contingency fees may soar as high as 40%, but rates differ for each case. Be sure to discuss the contingency rate with your personal injury lawyer before hiring him or her.
More specifically, the level of contingency fees vary from state to state. It is usually one third of the settlement award, but you may negotiate for a reduction if you case will potentially be worth a large amount of money. A personal injury lawyer has to perform more work when the claim has passed the insurance company and is filed in court. When this occurs, the universally recognized contingency fee will be 40%.
The best personal injury attorneys will not likely reconsider their fees. They know that they are capable of recovering significantly bigger award than personal injury lawyers with lesser skills. Regardless of the percentage reserved for the personal injury attorney, this will still result to a greater award to you. Risking 40% of a million dollars is way better than settling at 20% of a hundred. As a consumer, it is your decision to make.
There is generally no minimum award that one can settle for. The amount depends on many factors, and investigation may show that the person you are seeking compensation for may not have any liability at all. In this, you may consider a global settlement for zero, wherein you agree to release the person while he promises not to sue you for abusive practices or malicious prosecution. This will largely depend on what the insurance covers, what the evidences can prove and the ability of the defendant to pay the award.
Personal injury cases involving workers compensation are more regulated, and will likely entail fees that are lower than those in regular personal injury cases.
Fortunately, medical bills should be included in bodily injury awards as the framework of the claim. These can set off your burden on the copying expenses, filing fees and other court-related fixed costs that you should cover. Therefore, it is best to ask for your settlement check and its breakdown, as any decent personal injury lawyer will give you.
Remember that a personal injury lawyer cannot settle your case without your approval. He will not only violate his ethical duties as a lawyer, but also the state statutes. It is a universally recognized rule that no personal injury attorney can settle a case with the full consent and involvement of the client.
It is heavily recommended that the amount paid to your personal injury lawyer, whether on a contingency basis or not, be decided at the earliest stages of hiring your personal injury lawyer in order to allow the focus be placed on making a successful claim.
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