Basic Personal Injury Settlement Breakdown: How Much Goes in My Pocket?
How much money goes into your pocket from a personal injury settlement depends on how much you receive for your claim. It also depends on the costs and fees that must be paid from the settlement proceeds before you receive any money from the settlement.
Before discussing the amounts deducted from your personal injury settlement, let’s discuss what damages you can receive for an accident or injury claim.
How Much Is Your Personal Injury Claim Worth?
Many factors impact how much money you receive for a personal injury case. Common factors that affect the value of a claim include:
- The type and severity of your injuries
- Whether you sustained permanent disabilities, impairments, or disfigurements
- The parties involved in your case
- The strength of your evidence proving fault, causation, and damages
- Whether you could be partially to blame for the cause of your injury
- The availability of insurance coverage and the limits of the insurance policy
- The willingness of the parties to negotiate a fair settlement
Your damages generally increase with the severity of your injuries. Therefore, if you sustain traumatic injuries or lifelong impairments, the value of your damages increases.
For example, the medical expenses to treat a broken leg that requires surgery and physical therapy are higher than someone who sustains a sprained ankle. A person who suffered catastrophic injuries may require lifelong personal and nursing care. However, someone with a broken leg may recover fully, so they would not incur future expenses or damages.
The types of damages available in a personal injury case generally include economic damages such as:
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Loss of income
- In-home or long-term nursing care
- Diminished earning capacity
- Household services and personal care
- Emotional distress
- Decrease in quality of life
- Physical suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
- Permanent disabilities and impairments
Before you can recover compensation for your damages, you must prove that the other party caused your injuries. You must also have evidence proving the value of your damages. If the at-fault party accepts liability for the cause of your injuries, your Jacksonville personal injury lawyer negotiates a settlement.
If the other party refuses to accept liability or negotiate a fair settlement amount, your lawyer might advise you to file a personal injury lawsuit.
What Happens When I Agree to a Settlement Offer?
Your lawyer or the insurance company drafts a settlement agreement. The settlement agreement releases all parties from any further liability for your damages in exchange for payment of a specific amount. After the parties sign the agreement, the insurance company issues a settlement check to your lawyer.
The basic personal injury settlement breakdown includes deductions for:
Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. Therefore, they receive a percentage of your settlement amount as payment for their legal services.
Suppose you agree to pay your accident attorney a 33% contingency fee. You receive $450,000 as settlement for your personal injury claim. The attorneys’ fees total $148,500.
In the rare cases that a lawyer does not recover any money for their client, the client does not pay any attorneys’ fees.
Costs and Expenses
Most attorneys cover the costs and expenses in a personal injury case for their clients. The retainer agreement states that the client agrees to reimburse the law firm for costs and expenses from the settlement proceeds.
Examples of expenses and costs of a personal injury case include:
- Copy and postage fees
- Travel and mileage costs
- Deposition fees
- Fees for obtaining police reports, accident reports, medical records, and other documents
- Court filing fees
- Investigation expenses
- Expert witness fees
- Trial preparation costs
After deducting attorneys’ fees, your lawyer deducts the costs and expenses from the settlement proceeds. Before hiring a personal injury attorney, discuss who is responsible for the fees and expenses if the lawyer does not recover money for your claim.
Medical Liens and Subrogation Claims
A personal injury lawyer is required to pay medical liens, unpaid physicians’ bills, and subrogation claims before giving you any money from the settlement. Health insurance companies file subrogation claims to recover the amount they paid for medical treatment of injuries subject to the personal injury claim.
Providers are not required to negotiate settlements. However, experienced personal injury lawyers attempt to negotiate lower payoffs to put as much money from the settlement in your pocket.
How Can You Increase the Money You Receive for a Personal Injury Settlement?
Ways that you improve your chance of receiving maximum compensation for an injury claim include:
- Document the accident scene by taking pictures and making a video
- Ask eyewitnesses for their contact information
- Seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries
- Do not admit fault for the accident or injury
- Never talk to an insurance adjuster before consulting a personal injury attorney
- Document your injuries with photographs
- Complete your medical treatment
- Avoid using social media or posting information online
As soon as possible, talk with a personal injury attorney in Jacksonville. Accepting a settlement offer from an insurance company without talking with an accident lawyer could result in a much lower personal injury settlement than your case is worth.
Contact the Jacksonville Personal Injury Law Firm of Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers Today For Help
Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Jacksonville
9471 Baymeadows Rd #105,
Jacksonville, FL 32256
Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Downtown Jacksonville
121 W. Forsyth St. #170,
Jacksonville, FL 32202