Once your personal injury claim is settled, several parties owed will need to receive their cut. From your legal team to your health service provider, everyone will be owed. The moment you settle a claim, then that’s it. You cannot reopen it again in case the amount is too little to cover the expenses, pay everyone and remain with your own payout.
When you settle a claim, you will be required to sign a settlement check showing the total amount you were paid. The check will, however, not indicate the specific damages you were paid for other than a bodily injury claim. It is the same proceeds that will cater for everything, including paying off your attorney and doctor. So how much legal compensation will you receive after a settlement? Here’s a general outline of how your expenses will be settled out.
Medical Bills and Liens
You will need to clear any pending medical bills or balances from the settlement amount you received. Your doctors may decide to reduce their bills where necessary so you can be left with a reasonable settlement amount. If the medical bills are more than the insurance policy amount, then getting your medical bills reduced is your only option. Unfortunately, having the doctors agree to reduce the medical bills can be a complicated battle.
However, state laws allow the medical services provider to file a lien claim at the county recorder’s office to safeguard their rights regarding pending medical bills. The lien will list the medical provider’s details appearing alongside yours, and your attorney’s in the settlement check/draft. Always discuss and calculate any possible reductions with the insurance company before reaching a final settlement.
Legal Costs And Fees
If you enlisted the legal services of an experienced injury lawyer, the lawyer fees will be deducted from the settlement proceedings. If your attorney is working on a contract/contingent basis, then the fees will be contingent once the case is successful. Otherwise, if you lose the case, you do not pay the attorney any fees under a contingent fee contract.
Case costs are different from case fees. Costs are funds used to pay for any required goods and services besides your attorney’s time. For example, most medical providers will provide copies of your medical records at a fee. Also, fees paid to the court to file a lawsuit are all classified as costs. It’s your lawyer who pays for those costs, although they are legally your responsibility. Once a claim is settled, the costs will be tracked and deducted from the settlement. In personal injury cases, these costs are generally low. However, ensure you understand and approve them before your attorney pays for them upfront.
Attorney fees often vary, but the average percentage is usually between 25% to 50%, depending on your case type. Always ensure you understand your attorney’s contractual terms. A good contract is where the attorney guarantees that you will win the case and that the amount you will retain after all expenses and deductions are substantial enough to cater to your needs.
Your Compensation Amount
After taking care of medical expenses, legal costs, fees, and paying off everyone with a legitimate claim on the settlement, you keep whatever is left for non-economic damages (pain and suffering, loss of consortium, etc.) and lost wages. This is the most significant amount that concerns you. To ensure that you receive reasonable compensation, here’s our case study for hiring an attorney. If you opt to handle the claim on your own, resolving the property damage and bodily injury with the insurance company without the help of an attorney, after deducting the average 32% contingency fee, how much will you be left with? If, in the end, you take home less than $25,000, is it worth it? Of course not. That’s why we only pick cases where we are sure our client will win and win a reasonable settlement such that after the processes and deductions, you will still have something in your pockets.
Sound Legal Representation Should Be Worth It
Legal representation, while not cheap, does make a difference in a personal injury claim. A report by Nolo shows that clients who hire an attorney often walk away with more than $77,600 in compensation after a successful case compared to an average of $17,600 for those who didn’t work with an attorney. What this clearly shows is that when it comes to fighting for your rights, there should be no compromise. It means handing over the case to a lawyer instelad of leaving thousands of dollars’ worth of slip and fall compensation on the negotiating table. It’s always advisable to have a sit down with an injury attorney before contacting the insurance company. This will save you from settling for a legal compensation that is less what you’re entitled to.