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How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?

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Personal Injury Attorney Fees

If you suffer physical or psychological injuries due to the actions of another party, then you may be able to recover damages (financial compensation) with the help of a personal injury lawyer.

In a personal injury lawsuit a plaintiff (the injured party) files charges against and seeks compensation from the defendant (the party allegedly responsible for the injury). There are many types of personal injuries, including those that result from traffic accidents, slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice, and dangerous consumer products. Accordingly, there are specialized personal injury lawyers who can provide representation specific to the type of injury suffered. Below you'll find important information about personal injury cases, including personal injury lawyer fees.

The Types of Damages Available in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Before explaining the cost of a personal injury lawyer, it is important to understand the two types of compensation available to an injury victim under personal injury law: monetary losses and non-monetary losses.

Monetary losses, as the name implies, are any damage that has a specific dollar value. These types of losses include:

  • Medical bills: You may recover the cost of past and future medical care, rehabilitation, medication, and more.
  • Post-disability care: This includes expenses such as in-home nursing care and making your home wheelchair accessible.
  • Lost wages: Any lost earnings that result from your injury, in addition to future lost earning capacity, is recoverable.
  • Property damage: This is a common claim for car crash victims, although the value any property damaged during an accident can be recouped.
  • Funeral costs: If the actions of another lead to the death of an injury victim, his or her family may recover funeral expenses.

Non-monetary losses, while they may not correlate with an exact amount of money, are nonetheless significant and compensable. They include:

  • Physical pain
  • Mental anguish
  • Disfigurement
  • Diminished ability to enjoy life
  • Loss of consortium

Personal Injury Attorney Average Costs

  • Personal injury attorneys are typically paid on contingency. This means they receive a percentage—around 20% to 35%—of the money they are able to recover on behalf of a plaintiff.
  • Some personal injury law firms allow you to be billed on an hourly basis. If you are represented under this arrangement, expect to pay somewhere around $100 to $500 per hour.
  • As an example of how payment on a contingency basis works, assume that you recover economic and non-economic damages worth $500,000 and that you have agreed to pay a personal injury law firm 25% of that amount. The resulting contingency fee would be $125,000, leaving you with a net settlement of $375,000.
  • National personal injury settlements average approximately:
  • $300,000 to $500,000 for medical malpractice
  • $20,000 to $30,000 for traffic accidents
  • $1,000 to $3,000 for slip and fall accidents
  • In addition to the fees you pay an accident lawyer, you must also pay litigation-related costs such as court fees, filing fees and charges for delivery, medical records, expert witnesses, and investigators.
  • Before handing your case over to a personal injury law office be sure to get a written breakdown of how billing works.

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