How Much Do Personal Injury Lawyers Get Paid?


Retro couple sitting behind table.
Retro couple sitting behind a table.

How much a Personal Injury ("PI") attorney or lawyer makes is a burning question people often love to ask. Hundreds of forums and blogs exist on the internet, beating this topic to death. Some people want to know their yearly salaries only because they are curious about how much a lawyer makes.

But others inquire about it because they want to join this field out of law school.

  • How much a PI lawyer makes depends on many factors. However, it can be easily said that a lawyer makes a handsome yearly salary that is better than what most other professions yield for the people.

The Many Different Types Of Personal Injury Lawyers

There are many different types of personal injury lawyers. Personal injury is not a small field. And if you go deep in it, you will see more than a dozen different types of lawyers that are considered to be personal injury lawyers.

Surprisingly, some cases involve deaths, worker's compensation, employment law, cruise ship cases, and other casualties. Here are some of the different types of accidents PI lawyers handle under the big umbrella term of "personal injury":

  • Auto accidents
  • Wrongful death
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Burn injuries
  • Animal bite injuries
  • Brain injuries
  • Aviation accidents
  • Amusement park accidents
  • Insurance/bad faith
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Construction accidents
  • Swimming pool drowning accidents
  • Nursing home abuse
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Defective products
As you dig deeper, you will find out many other types of accidents and injuries that can be handled by personal injury lawyers. But some areas of PI law are more cookie cutter and others very complex. For example, a rear-ender car accident is cheaper and easier to litigate than complex mesothelioma, or Jones Act cruise ship man overboard claims. Knowledge of contract, criminal, and other laws may be needed in your type of case. Generally, the better trained the lawyer, the higher their Lodestar or attorney's fee value.

Factors Affecting Yearly Incomes Of Personal Injury Lawyers

Many websites will quote $62 to be the mean average hourly wage for most lawyers. But these statistics don’t always apply to PI lawyers. Commonly known is that personal injury lawyers can easily make above $70,000 every year. Because PI lawyers work on a contingency, they get paid a percentage of what they collect.

What percentage do lawyers take for personal injury?

Many state statutes limit the percentage your lawyer can charge as a contingency fee. California, let's the parties decide what's fair in most cases. Generally, PI lawyers take 33.33% of the gross amount of your situation before filing a lawsuit. However, minors compromises and individual cases involving incompetents see fee reductions to 25% quite often.
  • The normal fee arrangement is 33.33% if your lawyers settle before litigation.
  • If the lawyer has to file suit, their take increases to 40%.
  • If they collect punitive damages or have to go to trial, the fee can go as high as 50% of our case.
A lawyer with lots of cases to resolve in a year can also cross the $200,000 mark annually. Anyways, these are the statistics you will find on many websites, but the matter is not as easy as it sounds. Different lawyers make money in various scenarios and conditions. Some lawyers might not be making even half of $100,000 every year because of many reasons. The breakdown of a typical personal injury settlement is discussed here.

When There is No Insurance Money, Do Most Lawyers Bill Hourly?

Yes. This is true. What legal domain a lawyer works in is a significant factor when calculating their annual income. Even though the per hour rates are not very common these days, some lawyers still prefer to go this way. One big reason for many lawyers charging this way could be that they are not seeing the case ending on favorable terms. Mostly, lawyers avoid at fault or partial fault type cases. After all, a case like this means it's less likely insurance will pay, assuming there was coverage at all. So naturally, the lawyer chooses hourly billing in these cases, because a percentage of nothing doesn’t give them a good return. This remains true even if they can win the case for the client. Besides, good luck trying to collect on an unsecured debtor's judgment.
  • Most lawyers charge by the hour when there is no insurance compensation. Other times they charge hourly is when the lawyer thinks the case is weak.

How Much Money Do Lawyer Get?

  • 26% of lawyers don’t work for an organization. After all, they want to earn more significant profits from their profession. Some remain self-employed to keep a flexible schedule.
  • Location of the lawyer also plays a vital role in his yearly income. A lawyer located in a populated city will mostly be earning more than a lawyer working in a rural area.
  • How a lawyer markets himself has become the most crucial factor in a lawyer’s yearly income. Law websites are some of the most popular types of websites today.
What type of employment a lawyer takes up is another deciding factor of his yearly income. A personal injury defense attorney will almost always be paid by "billable hours." A freelance will charge a percentage of the win. So it is hard to predict how much a self-employed plaintiff's lawyer would make at the end of the year. But it totally depends on their efforts. The type of organization that employs the lawyer also decides how much he will make at the end of the year. A PI defense lawyer serving the government will not make as much money as a PI defense lawyer working for a successful private firm. As you can see, the types of lawyers and how much money they make depends on several factors. And this adequately answers the question. Lawyers need to have themselves appropriately marketed and more efficiently on the internet today. A free consultation is the biggest tool of today’s lawyers to attract more clients towards them. Furthermore, lawyers can now make use of social networking platforms to market themselves and earn huge profits at the end of the year. Personal injury lawyers, in particular, could make almost nothing, or become very wealthy.

How Much is My Case Worth?

Fist full of personal injury dollars
American dollars in the hands.
Please use any of our easy contact us methods for your free case evaluation. Don’t let the statute of limitations expire in your case. Time is of the essence.

Do I Need a Lawyer?


We make it Happen
We make it happen. “Do or Die”
The deal is, you need a lawyer in order to safeguard your legal rights. Plus, you can assure you obtain reasonable compensation for your losses arising from your accident. Since we offer a free legal consultation, why not contact us now to discuss the intricacies of your case in confidence with a fine tooth comb? We are standing by! Protect Your Rights With Our Handy ACCIDENT REPORT Now!

ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENT and Public Use information. 844-WIN-CASE is not intended to imply or infer that ELFPI casn win every case. Every case is unique, as eaach person. No reasonable person could assume every case is win-able. The data on this website is generated by a member of the State Bar of California to provide general information and to answer the most frequently asked questions regarding tort law, and/or negligence claims. Parts herein contain attorney marketing information. Other parts do not. However, nothing on this website shall be construed as legal advice for any legal matter, or non-legal matter. Nor does anything on this website form a contract, or attorney-client alliance. (Read more.)

© 2019 Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, A Professional Law Corporation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.