Settlement FAQs

Q. What damages are included in a settlement?

A. In a personal injury case you are entitled to be compensated for your pain and suffering, the physical injury itself, for example, a broken bone or loss of a limb, your loss of enjoyment of life, your medical expenses, past and future, your loss of income, past and future, and the impairment of your future earning capacity, plus legal interest on all of the above from the suit was filed.

Q. How are these damages calculated?

A. Personal injury damages are designed to "make you whole" after an accident and injury. They are designed to compensate you for what you have been through and to replace what you have lost.

Q. What if I am partially at fault?

A. You may be awarded damages even if you are partially at fault in causing or contributing to the accident. For instance, if you've been injured in a motor vehicle wreck and both you and the other driver are partially responsible for the incident, you still may be entitled to a percentage of overall damages.

Q. Is there a schedule that lists what amounts you should typically recover for certain types of injury?

A. There is no schedule or list that sets forth what a case is worth. Each case is different. It depends upon the facts of your case, the injury you received and how it has affected you and your family.

Q. What is the standard contingency fee?

A. There is no "standard" contingency fee. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee of 33 1/3 % of the recovery, and in some cases, including medical malpractice cases, a fee of 40% of the recovery. Most contingency fee contracts state that the expenses of the case are deducted from the client's share of the recovery. For example, if the case settles for $100,000, and there is a 33 1/3 % contingency fee, the client's share is $66,666.66. If there are case expenses, for example, of $10,000, that amount is deducted from the client's share, leaving the client a net recovery of $56,666.66. This system is the standard in the industry.

Q. Do I have to pay anyone from my settlement?

A. Yes, often you must pay lienholders such as Medicare or Medicaid, or, in certain cases, health insurers who have paid for your medical costs during the pendency of the case. We will work with them to insure that you pay them the lowest amount legally possible.

Q. Do I have to consent to a settlement?

A. The decision to settle or not is entirely yours. Your attorney may not settle without your permission.

Q. How do I know if I should settle?

A. A personal injury settlement is an agreement reached between two parties in a civil law suit. In a settlement, one party attempts to keep the case from going to trial by offering an amount of money or a set of terms that they hope the other party will agree to, thus settling the case and eliminating the need for a jury trial.

Q. What is a structured settlement?

A. A structured settlement is a payout arrangement that allows plaintiffs in personal injury suits to acquire damages in small amounts over a long period of time as opposed to in one lump sum. Your attorney will talk to you in detail about the pros and cons of structured settlements versus lump sum payments.

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