You were in a car accident and you have injuries and financial losses because of someone else’s negligence. You want to seek compensation to cover your losses, but you are hesitant to obtain legal representation because you worry about the cost.
Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t pay your lawyer unless they win your case and you receive compensation. The amount your lawyer will take off the top of your settlement is a reasonable percentage for all the time and resources they put into your case. This percentage is typically around 33 percent. A personal injury lawyer from our firm will explain how payment works in more detail so there are no surprises.
What Is a Contingency Fee?
A contingency fee is a percentage agreed upon by you and your personal injury lawyer and written into a contract both parties will sign. Contingency fee structuring follows the guidelines of the Florida State Bar Association. By signing the contract, you are agreeing to pay your attorney a percentage of the compensation you receive if your lawyer wins your case in court or negotiates a settlement with the liable party and their insurance provider.
The amount of compensation you can recover varies case by case depending on the severity of your injuries, how much income you lost, the value of property damage, and the pain and suffering you experience because of the accident. Once you sign a settlement agreement or receive a jury verdict in your favor, your lawyer will take 33.3 percent or one-third of the compensation as their fee.
For example, if you settle with the insurance provider for $30,000, your attorney would get $10,000 while you get $20,000. There are examples of personal injury lawyers agreeing to take cases pro bono, but you should not expect it.
How Much Compensation Should You Expect?
On average, car accident victims recover settlements at a value of $24,000, although many will only be able to recover $10,000 or less. Again, the value of your settlement will depend on multiple factors such as the severity of your injuries and what types of damages apply to you.
One category of damages you can recover is known collectively as economic damages, which have a verifiable monetary value. These include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income and benefits
- Child care costs
- Household services
- Property damage
- Physical therapy
You can prove these losses by producing evidence such as your medical bills, pay slips, and receipts.
The other type of damages you can recover are non-economic damages, which are more challenging to calculate because there is no monetary value. You may feel pain, emotional distress, or mental anguish, but the court can’t set a defined monetary amount to such subjective damages. Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
Some of these damages are more challenging to prove than others, and that’s why calculating compensation for them is so complex. Receiving compensation for emotional distress and similar non-tangible injuries is more likely if you also have physical injuries. Your personal injury lawyer will be able to calculate the value of your compensation claim by taking into account the economic and non-economic damages that apply to you. This is done by using the multiplier method or the per diem method.
The Multiplier Method
Your personal injury lawyer may prefer using the multiplier method to calculate the value of your claim, the argument being that your compensation is quantifiable in relation to your injuries.
For example, let’s say you were in a car accident in Florida, and your medical bills came to a grand total of $20,000, including costs for hospitalization and diagnostic tests. Let’s also say you are in severe pain on a daily basis because of your injuries and you experience emotional distress. Your lawyer will likely argue that your medical bills, pain and suffering, and emotional distress should be a multiplier of three, which would value your compensation at $60,000.
Per Diem Method
This method of calculating the value of your claim involves multiplying your losses per day. So if you lost $100 every day because of your pain and you didn’t work for ten days, your claim would be worth $1,000.
This method is more effective if you have a short-term injury. However, it’s up to you and your lawyer to decide which method best fits your case.
When Will You Receive Compensation?
After your lawyer reviews the terms of a settlement with you and you sign the agreement, a check will be sent to your lawyer. Your lawyer will deduct their fee, which will likely be 33.3 percent of the settlement amount. The remaining amount of the settlement will be sent to you.
Ideally, you should receive the money in three to ten business days depending on the size of the amount.
Can You Get An Advance On Your Settlement?
Yes, you can get an advance on your settlement, but not from your lawyer. Lawyers cannot give clients advance payment on their settlement, according to the American Bar Association, because it would create a conflict of interest.
If you desire an advance on your settlement, you can talk to one of several private companies that offer pre-settlement loans.
Learn More About How Much Lawyers Take From a Settlement in Florida Today
Your lawyer may put in hundreds or even thousands of hours of work on your case to get you the compensation you deserve. Working on a contingency fee basis means your lawyer has an incentive to win the case because if they don’t win, they don’t get paid.
A personal injury lawyer who has experience handling cases such as yours will guide you through the legal process and handle your case on your behalf while you focus on your recovery. Your lawyer also understands the ins and outs of the insurance system and has the skills to negotiate a settlement that covers your losses.
GED Lawyers work on a contingency fee basis and we offer free consultations to evaluate your case and explain how payment works so there are no surprises. To learn more about how much lawyers take from a settlement in Florida, or to schedule a consultation, please contact us today.