How Much of My Personal Injury Settlement Do I Walk Away With?
There are a number of factors that determine how much you actually walk away with from your personal injury settlement. While many people may focus on the gross settlement figure and celebrate that they recovered $500,000 or whatever the applicable amount is, what really matters is how much you actually walk away with once attorney’s fees, litigation costs and expenses, and the costs of any medical treatment you may have had to undergo are deducted from the gross amount that you recovered. It is the net amount of your recovery that truly matters when you pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit. If, for instance, you recover $250,000 in a personal injury settlement of a slip and fall claim, but you only walk away with $15,000 because $235,000 was spent in obtaining that settlement, then this is a very different result for you as the injured party than if you walk away with $150,000. Therefore, you want an attorney who knows how to represent you as zealously as possible while also doing so in a way that is efficient and keeps the costs of that representation as low as possible. This is where experience comes in and why the experienced Florida personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley are so successful for their clients. At our firm, we pride ourselves on focusing on maximizing the bottom line for our clients, so they walk away with as much as possible from personal injury settlement.
Litigation Costs and Expenses Add Up
The costs of litigation are the first thing that must be taken into account when considering how much you will walk away with from a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Hiring experts, deposition transcripts, the costs of serving subpoenas, court filing fees and a whole host of other expenses can all add up to really eat into the recovery you can expect to get from a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
This is an area where experience truly matters. An attorney who knows your case well from the outset will know the value of your case early on. Your attorney should be honest with you about whether it is better to try and settle your case at an early juncture or not. You may be able to avoid needlessly racking up thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in litigation costs and expenses only to end up recovering the same amount that you could have recovered from an insurer without having had to incur all those costs and expenses. An experienced attorney will be able to guide you.
Attorney’s fees are another often-overlooked category of the ultimate costs that may reduce your recovery at the end of your personal injury case or claim. The maximum permissible fee structure set down by Florida’s Supreme Court for contingency fee arrangements (which personal injury cases are handled almost exclusively on) pegs the amount that an attorney can charge based upon where in the litigation a case resolves: whether it is presuit (i.e., before suit is filed), after a lawsuit is filed but before the defendant files an answer, and then after a defendant files an answer. In order to exceed these caps, an attorney must receive approval from a judge and must convince the judge that the case is particularly difficult, that few other attorneys would handle the case or a series of other facts that would justify awarding that attorney a higher percentage.
If you recover money in a personal injury case that is being handled on a contingency fee, attorney’s fees come off the top, which means that if you settle your case for $250,000 and it is at a point in the litigation where the contingency fee agreed to with your attorney was 33%, then the attorney would be entitled to $83,332.50. The other fees and costs would be deducted afterwards in ultimately calculating what you, the client, would receive, but attorney’s fees are calculated on the total amount recovered without factoring in the other fees and costs.
The Costs of Medical Treatment for Your Injuries
Another item of expenses that will come out of your gross recovery amount is the costs of whatever medical treatment you received associated with the injuries that you suffered. If you had health insurance that was covering your medical costs, then typically your insurance policy will allow for the insurer to seek to recover from you if you sue the person that caused the injuries you were seeking treatment for. This is what is known as a medical lien. Medical liens typically must be paid before you can expect to see a penny from your recovery. Therefore, if your insurer takes the position it is owed for all the treatment it paid for that is associated with your injuries from a personal injury claim, then you will end up needing to satisfy that lien prior to receiving whatever is owed to you from the settlement.
However, one thing few people realize is that healthcare liens are often negotiable, and insurers are often more than happy to negotiate a discount based off the stated amount of the lien. This is because the insurers may have to go to court to justify the amounts they are seeking as well as to prove that every penny they are seeking to be repaid was associated with injuries you suffered as a result of your personal injury claim. So, they would rather simply accept less and avoid the hassle of attempting to collect on the money they spent and proving it was for treatment associated with your personal injury case. Nevertheless, some attorneys simply pay off the liens without even attempting to negotiate them down. At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, we understand that every dollar we can reduce from the outstanding liens associated with your motor vehicle accident or other personal injury claim is one more dollar that will go in your pocket. We negotiate aggressively with insurers and healthcare providers if you have liens associated with the treatment you received for your injuries caused by someone else’s negligence.
Contact Schwed Adams & McGinley
At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 150 years of experience representing the victims of motor vehicle accidents and other personal injury scenarios. Our experience enables us to keep litigation costs and expenses and other amounts that will reduce our client’s ultimate recovery to a minimum while managing your case in such a way as to maximize the ultimate recovery for our clients. If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence in Florida, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A. today at 877-694-6079 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.