The Breakdown of a Hypothetical Settlement of $100,000.00

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It is in the newspaper headlines all around the world. Daily, awards of substantial verdicts and settlements occur. Does it seem like people are getting rich to you? Well, in a most personal injury case that’s false. Below is an example of a possible settlement of $100,000.00.

Legal agreements memorialize the fee between the client and their lawyer. Let’s take a look at a hypothetical settlement distribution.

Hypothetical Fee Distribution

  1. Legal Fees –The $100,000.00 is first divided up to pay outstanding attorney’s fees. Attorney’s fees can vary. But you can expect prices of 40 to 45% of the settlement amount. Usually, payment of the personal injury attorneys comes from contingency fee contracts. This covers their legal expertise. Also, they pay their own money up front for other cases. And they also pay members of their staff to hammer away at your case. Also, sometimes your fee gets split between several firms. And this remains the case where there is a referring attorney involved. So here, let’s assume your legal fees will be cut in half. Here, the two law firms had a contract to divide a 40% contingent fee. So $20,000 will go to Firm A, and $20,000 will go to Firm B.
  2. Legal Expenses –(At this point there is $60,000 of the $100,000.00 remaining). Your attorney will incur certain expenses. A few examples of legal examples would include deposition costs, expert fees, and costs for traveling. In some situations, it can wind up costing several thousands of dollars to cover the expenses of a case. For this example, we’ll say the costs are $18,000.
  3. Liens and Medical Expenses – (At this point there is $42,000 of the $100,000.00 remaining). Outstanding medical liens and expenses must finally be paid out. The federal government and most states require you to pay physicians, government agencies, and hospitals from settlements. So we still have to pay the $33 grand.
  4. The Client’s Part – There is only $9,000 left from the beginning amount of $100,000.00. And this covers lost wages, pain, and suffering, the time used to file the lawsuit. Also, in many cases, it covers lost relationships with a significant other.

So plaintiffs don’t always file a suit to get rich. Sometimes these lessons make sure no-one else ends up going through what they had to go through. So it is not only about the settlement amount. Communities are safer when plaintiffs stand their ground against law breakers.


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Michael Ehline is a highly trained personal injury attorney in Los Angeles, CA. He writes educational articles to help injured consumers.

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