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Why do the lawyers get a third of my settlement?

| Mar 23, 2018 | Blog

You have been injured, perhaps in a car accident. Or maybe a dog bit you, or you slipped and fell on the premises of a business. Whatever the situation is, you are ready to pursue negotiations or a lawsuit that you hope begins the process of compensating you for medical bills, lost income and more.

However, while meeting with different law firms, you have discovered that lawyers tend to take at least a third of any settlement. In fact, the figure may go as high as 40 percent for some firms. Naturally, this dismays you because you feel like you could really use that money. Why do lawyers take such a seemingly large amount?

Working on a contingency basis

Personal injury lawyers typically work on contingency, meaning that they shoulder costs and expenses up front. The cost to you is nothing. That way, you do not have to stress about how you are going to afford a lawyer and related unexpected expenses, and you can focus on your recovery. (An important note, though: Many times, the expenses are on top of the 33 percent fee.)

If your case is settled, it is your lawyer who usually gets the check. The firm takes out its costs and expenses before giving you the final amount. Otherwise, firms have no guarantee of being paid and would rarely take on personal injury cases.

Investing considerable time and resources

The reality is that you deserve the best representation possible, and your lawyer(s) must put in serious time and effort to make your case. They do this knowing that if they lose, they receive nothing. So, the risk factor is part of the equation. You are able to pursue a lawsuit you probably would not otherwise because win or lose, you do not really have to pay anything.

Building a case often requires interviewing witnesses, talking with doctors, hiring experts, retaining investigators and more. None of that comes cheap, but it is necessary to win a case.

Most importantly: After all is said and done, what you end up with after lawyers’ fees and expenses are taken out should still be significantly larger than what you would have received had you negotiated or settled on your own.

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