personal injury lawyer and client

Basic Personal Injury Settlement Breakdown: How Much Goes in My Pocket?

If you are considering filing a personal injury claim, you may be wondering how much goes in your pocket if the case settles. Typically, the answer depends on how much was spent to get to a settlement in your case. Costs related to your claim include attorney’s fees, case costs, medical liens and expenses. These get deducted from your total compensation, and the rest is typically yours. Our California personal injury attorneys can explain how this process may work in your case after reviewing your claim.

What is Meant by Gross Settlement Amount?

The gross settlement amount is the total amount that the defendant or person who caused your injuries agrees to pay to settle your claim. The source of funds usually comes from insurance. Occasionally the settlement may come from other sources. A settlement amount is usually negotiated based on calculations regarding medical bills, lost wages, estimated future expenditures and losses, long-term effects of your injury and other factors. For this article, let’s say your settlement is $100,000.

Attorney’s Fees 

At the beginning of your case, you will sign a retainer agreement with your attorney. In California personal injury cases, legal fees are usually structured as contingency fees. Most attorneys will charge a contingency fee of 30% to 40%. If your claim is complex or goes to trial, this may be where a higher contingency rate applies. Contingency fees are an arrangement where you do not pay anything upfront. If your attorney wins your case, they are entitled to a percentage of the settlement award. As a result, attorney’s fees are the first thing that comes off your settlement. So, in the above example, if your gross recovery is $100,000, the attorney’s fees will be between $33,000-$40,000.

Case Expenses

Most personal injury cases have costs associated with bringing a claim. These can include expert fees, deposition costs, fees for obtaining medical records, court fees, copy fees, postage fees, service costs, and other items. You are responsible for these costs in the event of a win or settlement. These items will be repaid from the settlement proceeds after attorneys fees. Continuing with the example above, if you have $5,000 of expenses in your case, these will come off after the attorney’s fees. So, your net would be between $55,000-$62,000.

Medical Expenses

Settling a personal injury case can take time. During this time, medical bills for your care and treatment may accrue. By law, medical providers, health insurance companies, or government agencies may place a lien on your settlement related to the value of services they provide. You are required to pay off these bills or liens from your settlement. However, your attorney may be able to negotiate these bills and liens down to help you keep as much money as possible. Our firm knows how to get our clients excellent settlements and negotiate down medical liens and costs. We know how to maximize your recovery while keeping the expenses and costs of your case down. Contact our office today for a free consultation.