What Is the Usual Fee for a Personal Injury Lawyer?

November 2, 2021

Most personal injury firms charge for their services by using contingency fees, which means taking 33 to 40 percent of a client’s settlement or award. There are no upfront fees, and you will only have to pay once your case is resolved. If you do not win, you do not owe your attorney a dime.

Contingency Fee Percentages

Before handling your case, an attorney will have you sign a contingency fee agreement with the terms of their representation and how legal fees will be paid. In the majority of cases, a personal injury lawyer will deduct one-third or 33% of your awarded compensation. For example, if a settlement yields $100,000, your lawyer will keep about $33,000 as their fee for representing you, plus case costs and expenses.

However, many lawyers use a “sliding scale,” which can increase their contingency percentage based on when your case is resolved. For instance, 33% if your case is settled relatively quickly, but if you must file a lawsuit, they may require up to 40% as their legal fee or more if you must go to trial due to the time and work involved.

All information related to potential legal fees should be included in a written agreement. It is critical that you understand the exact terms of your lawyer’s representation before agreeing to hire them.

Why Are These Legal Fees So Large?

Contingency fees allow personal injury victims to hire high-quality legal representation regardless of their financial situation. Because of the risk involved for an attorney who is spending money upfront with the belief that you will win, contingency fees are not cheap. Cases can take many months and often years to go through the court system, and depending on who the defendant is, they may have a team of attorneys to go up against. If you have a strong case, you might be able to discuss a lower fee, but the best attorneys are in high demand and are not likely to do so.

Costs and Expenses

There are many different types of costs that an attorney will pay when trying to build your personal injury case. The larger the potential payout, the more expenses there tend to be. Common examples of expenses required to be reimbursed in addition to their contingency fee include:

  • Expert witnesses
  • Court costs
  • Copies of medical records
  • Police reports
  • Investigators
  • Depositions
  • Filing fees
  • Trial exhibits
  • Postage

Is It Worth Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer?

While you are not obligated to hire an attorney to handle a personal injury claim, it is a wise decision, particularly if you were severely injured. Personal injury lawyers are highly skilled in negotiating and dramatically increase your chances of obtaining fair compensation that you will need to cover your losses now and in the future. The other option is to represent yourself, and an insurance company or the defendant’s lawyer will typically not take you seriously since there is not a significant threat of a lawsuit.