How We are Paid
If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence or carelessness, you probably have a case that can be brought against this person, business, or government entity. However, you may be reluctant to go forward with your case because you are not sure how you can afford one.
Everyone knows lawyers are expensive and there is a general belief that all lawyers work on what is called an hourly basis, meaning that they will ask for what is often known as a retainer, which is a sum of money that they bill against. Some attorneys do in fact bill by the hour for their services and ask their clients for a retainer. Most personal injury attorneys, however, do not. Rather, they work on what is called a contingency fee agreement.What is a Contingency Fee Agreement and How Much is It?
A contingency fee agreement is one where you agree to pay a certain percentage of your settlement or jury verdict, depending on what happens in your case, to your lawyer. So rather than pay a lawyer upfront of their time, a part of your settlement will go to the lawyer. In most situations, a lawyer will take one-third of your gross recovery. However, some lawyers will take as much as 40% of the gross recovery as their fee, especially if your case goes into litigation. Litigation is the process of filing a lawsuit and going through the legal process to resolve your case. This means filing a lawsuit, going through the discovery process, and either settling the case prior to trial or taking the case to trial.
If you settle your personal injury case, your recovery is not taxed at either the federal or state level. Here is an example of a sample breakdown of a typical personal injury case:
- Gross recovery: $100,000
- Legal fees: $33,000
- Medical bills: $25,000
- Legal costs: $5,0000
- Net to Client: $37,000
As you can see from this breakdown, you may have legal costs associated with your case, especially if you have to file a lawsuit on your case. Common litigation costs may be legal filing fees, fees to serve the lawsuit on a person or company, obtaining your medical records and bills, hiring an expert on your case, if necessary, or paying a mediator, who is typically a retired lawyer or judge, to help settle your case.Do I Have to Pay Taxes on My Recovery?
No, your settlement, or jury verdict award, is not taxed at either the federal or the state level.Why do I Have to Pay Back My Medical Bills?
You do not always have to pay back your bills, but in most cases you do. This is called subrogation. It is a legal concept that applies in personal injury cases.How Much is Personal Injury My Case Worth?
Without knowing the particular facts of a case, it is hard to know exactly how much money you will receive for your personal injury case. Some cases are worth only a few thousand dollars whereas other cases are worth tens of millions.
Some of the factors that play into how much money you will receive is the amount of your medical bills, the severity of your injury, how much pain and suffering you have endured, and the negligence of the person or business who was the reason you were hurt. Another big factor is how much insurance, if any, is available. Here is a list of the common damages you are allowed to receive for your case:
- Money for medical bills, past and future
- Money for lost wages, past and future
- Money for pain and suffering
- Money for out of pocket expenses
- Money for your spouse, which is called a loss of consortium claim
If you receive a settlement on your case, you do not have to pay taxes on this amount, at either the federal or the state level.What if I Lose My Case?
The Jackman Law Firm’s policy is that if a case is lost, which is not a common event, then the client will not owe anything. This includes the legal costs that are advanced on the client’s behalf during the course of litigation if litigation is necessary to attempt to obtain the client a settlement. The client, as you can see, is not harmed by the loss of case.How Much More Money can a Lawyer Get for My Case?
While it is impossible to know the exact amount you may get for your case without knowing the particular facts of your case, it is almost certain you will receive much more by having an attorney represent you. The Jackman Law Firm has kept good track over the years and has found that on average our clients receive three to five times as much money by having us work on their case.
Recently, the Insurance Research Council, IRC, conducted a survey of people who had been in car accidents. About 6,000 people were surveyed. The survey showed that people who had been in a car accident and then retained a qualified personal injury lawyer received about 40% more money for their case than those who did not. About 85% of money that is paid to people from insurance companies are paid to those who have personal injury lawyers.