One of the popular misconceptions about dealing with personal injury lawyers is how they charge for their services. So, in this article, we’re going to break down for you exactly what you can expect to pay a Palatine auto accident lawyer once your case is settled. If you were injured and want a little guidance, reach out to us at 1-847-305-4105.
How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?
Car accident and other personal injury lawyers work on what is called a ‘contingency’ fee basis. What does that mean? It means that the lawyer will only recover if you are compensated for your injuries. We have had some cases where we took a case thinking that the facts were in our favor only to find out that our client could not win their case. In those few situations, our clients left owing us absolutely nothing for our services – even though we had put out costs on their behalf.
Why all the confusion? Well, you may be confusing injury attorneys with other areas of law such as divorce or business law where you can often pay an attorney as much as four or five hundred dollars per hour. That does not happen at our office – EVER.
If you are talking to a personal injury attorney and they try and collect a retainer from you, hang up the phone.
That is not to say you’re going to hire an attorney and magically just receive a check. There is a ton of work that goes into resolving your case. Ninety-nine percent of the work will go on behind the scenes. That is why we are writing this article, so you understand up front how this all works.
The great thing about how car crash attorneys charge their clients is that literally everyone can afford to get an attorney – assuming they’re not at fault for the accident.
We’ve had countless people want to retain our firm in cases where they were at fault for the accident or they wanted to only recover for property damage only. We are not defense attorneys and we don’t handle property damage only cases. That is because we are compensated based on how much we recover for you based on your pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills and so forth.
How are Auto Accident Lawyers’ Fees Structured?
Normally your attorney will charge a percentage of whatever the GROSS recovery is. The number varies by law firm but by and large, most Palatine auto accident lawyers charge 33.3% of the gross recovery if the case is settled before filing a lawsuit and as much as 40% of the recovery if a lawsuit is filed.
Sounds like a lot however on a net basis, you will likely receive far more compensation by having an attorney represent you than if you try and represent yourself. We’ve had a thousand situations where accident victims tried to represent themselves because the insurance adjuster seemed like a nice guy only to find that they got low-balled when it was time to settle their case.
The Settlement Process
Often clients will ask to settle their case right away. That is not how the system works. It takes a very long time to resolve a case. We’ve written many times on this site about how long it takes to settle a case (if it settles at all).
But in short, you have to finish all your medical treatment before a case can be settled. Why? We don’t know how much your medical bills will be until you’re done treating. Also, many injuries don’t reveal themselves for long after the accident date. For example, you cannot tell how bad a scar on your face is going to be until it fully heals after 12 months or so.
Then once you are done treating there are countless steps that have to be taken to get the information about your case in front of the insurance company, negotiate a settlement, negotiate the amount of your medical bills and liens and then get you your check.
Do I Have to Pay For Expenses Out of My Settlement?
Yes, you do. When you sign up with an attorney, there is a clause in your retainer agreement that says that the law firm will front the costs of the case. However, when the case settles the law firm is going to be reimbursed out of the proceeds of the case.
There are a wide variety of expenses that might be encountered including:
- Buying the police report
- Hiring an investigator
- Paying for medical records
- Paying for medical experts
- Court filings and costs
- Shipping and mailing expenses
When we close a case, we do what’s called a “settlement statement.” That will be a fully explained breakdown of all the costs associated with your case so that everything with you is above board and transparent.
How Much is a Settlement After all the Costs?
The amount of your settlement depends on a wide variety of factors including severity of injury, amount of medical bills, lost wages and most importantly, the size of the defendant’s insurance policy.
Let’s take an easy hypothetical situation. You are injured in a car crash and suffer a herniated disc. The defendant has $100,000 in insurance and the insurance company tenders or offers you the whole $100,000. How much do you get?
Well, it depends on what your medical bills are and the costs of your case. But let’s say that your medical bills are $25,000 and the attorneys’ costs are $2,500.
Here is the breakdown
$33,333.33 attorneys’ fees
$25,000 medical bills
So your total recovery is $100,000 minus the attorneys’ fees, medical bills and costs or $39,167 to the client.
Talk with a Palatine Car Accident Lawyer for Free
Our law firm office is located on Willow Road which of course turns into Palatine road. As such, we’re right down the street from Palatine and eager to drive west to meet with you in person. If you would like to speak with us right now, please call us at 1-847-305-4105.