Understanding Personal Injury Settlements

While we’re all raised on courtroom dramas, and are led to believe that the courtroom is where all the action is, the truth is a little more mundane. Most personal injury claims, for instance, wind up as personal injury settlements. Solicitors make every attempt to arrive at a settlement first; then if one can’t be reached, the dispute proceeds to a trial. This article will explain how the personal injury lawyer your choose can affect your settlement, and how to make sure you get paid if you win a settlement. Settlement agreements leicester

Contingency Fees

In the US, injury lawyers are frequently paid in contingency fees. A contingency fee is a percentage of the settlement amount, or the amount of a court award in the case of a judgment. While contingency fees on judgments are generally between 33% and 40%, they’re less on settlements. If the dispute is settled very early, before any substantial legal work is done, a contingency fee is between 10% and 15%. It can be up to 25% if the dispute proceeds to the discovery phase, where depositions and subpoenas are requested, and the judge decides what evidence is submissible. Contingency fees are form of compensation used with no win no fee personal injury claims, in which the injury solicitor (a.k.a. injury lawyer) charges no attorney’s fee unless the case is won.

Examining Your Retainer Agreement

Before you sign a retainer agreement with an injury solicitor, look for any clauses that might not be in your best interest. For retainer agreements on no win no fee claims, even if you’re not technically being charged an attorney’s fee, you might be charged for other expenses, like medical expert witnesses.

Another red flag is permission to settle the case without your consent. If the retainer agreement allows the lawyer to finalize a settlement without your authorization, then even if you’re fine with settling, you may find yourself unhappy with the specific terms of the settlement. Removing this provision gives you the leverage to examine the terms of the settlement, and ask the lawyer to renegotiate if necessary.

Clarify whether the agreement states that the lawyer’s contingency fee is calculated from a percentage of the gross or net of the settlement amount. Ideally, it’s in your best interest for the fee to be drawn from a percentage of the net settlement-in other words, after subtracting for your medical expenses.

Getting Your Settlement Check

If you win a settlement, receiving it will probably be simple if the losing party is insured. You simply notify the insurance company of the settlement, and they’ll send a check that amount (or up to the maximum covered by the policy) to your lawyer’s office. The check is usually made out to the lawyer (or firm) and the client, so in most cases you’ll be required to endorse the check before it’s deposited into the lawyer’s trust account. Make sure you get a copy of the check for your own records, even if you don’t have to endorse the check.

 

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