What Percentage Do Lawyers Take for Personal Injury Cases?

Closeup of an old-time style brass key sitting on top of a black keyboard, with a red key labeled LEGAL FEE in white, placed where the ENTER key should be, posing the question, What percentage do lawyers take for personal injury services in Philadelphia?

Unlike many other lawsuits, attorneys in personal injury cases are most often paid through a contingency fee agreement.  If you’re asking what percentage do lawyers take for personal injury services, the answer is they usually receive 33-55% of the award as payment fees.

In these cases, the person filing the claim (the plaintiff) agrees to pay the suit’s costs and a percentage of the damages received to the lawyer handling the case. If the plaintiff loses, there are no attorneys’ fees paid. Pennsylvania law requires that the agreement be in writing.


Where Do Contingency Fees Come From?

In the so-called English system, the person who loses a lawsuit generally has to pay all the fees and costs of both sides. This policy makes filing a lawsuit a risky proposition and limits access to the courts. American courts, however, do not apply this rule and require each party, barring extraordinary circumstances, to pay their own fees regardless of who wins.

To further increase access to the courts by injured parties, the American system also permits contingency fees. If you’re wondering what percentage lawyers take for personal injury cases, this is part of that percentage.

A contingency fee is a legal fee where the duty to pay is contingent upon winning the lawsuit and is usually a percentage of the damages awarded. Pennsylvania law permits and recognizes the virtues of contingency fee agreements.


What Percentage Do Lawyers Take for Personal Injury with a  Contingency Fee Arrangement in Philadelphia?

A contingency fee arrangement generally requires little or nothing upfront when filing a lawsuit. Instead, the plaintiff and the attorney enter into a written agreement outlining the terms of the contingency fee, and the lawyer files the suit. Usually, the agreement states that the attorney will receive payment only if the lawsuit is successful and states the percentage of the award that will go to the attorney.

Although many states limit the rate that an attorney can charge, Pennsylvania does not impose a limit. The lack of a limit may cause alarm when you’re asking what percentage do lawyers take for personal injury services. However, the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers do set forth ethical limits on what an appropriate fee might be.

When asking what percentage do lawyers take for personal injury cases, the average range for contingency fees in a personal injury case in Pennsylvania is 33 to 45% of the award. The national average ranges from 20 to 50% of the recovery.


What Is a Reasonable Contingency Fee?

A contingency fee must be reasonable in relation to:

  • The type of case
  • The circumstances of the case
  • The skill required
  • The work necessary for the case
  • Any other factors considered by the court

The attorney should also consider the policy limits of applicable insurance policies and whether the fee will be unreasonable in relation to those limits. Pennsylvania law does not limit the size of contingent fees, and the courts have expressly upheld a fee of a third of the award.


personal injury lawyers woking on an injury claim in Philadelphia


Can the Attorney Prepay the Expenses in a Contingency Case?

The contingency fee arrangement must outline all the specifics of the plaintiff and the attorney’s financial agreement. The agreement may or may not cover the prepayment of expenses such as filing fees for the suit. Prepayment of such fees does not make the contingent fee agreement illegal.

Although it is not unlawful for the attorney to prepay your expenses, most contingency agreements do not include them as part of the percentage due to the attorney.

You will therefore receive your specified portion, but the prepaid expenses will be subtracted from it.

In other words, if your award is $100,000, your fee is 40%, and there are $5,000 in expenses, you would receive $55,000, not $60,000.


Expenses If You Lose in Philadelphia

Even in a suit the plaintiff loses, there will be non-legal-fee expenses that have to be paid. Attorneys generally handle these expenses in one of two ways.

Some firms absorb the costs, probably having calculated that probability into their overall contingency fee ranges. Others will expect the plaintiff to pay the expenses regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit.

Sometimes the decision is based on what the lawyer sees as the strength of the case. In any event, how these will be handled should be in the fee agreement.


Getting the Details Right

The clarity of a contingency fee agreement is vitally important. The last thing a successful plaintiff wants after winning a lawsuit is a dispute with his attorney about the fees. As seen in the previous paragraph, it is essential to address all the issues when drafting a fee agreement.

Your lawyer will probably give you his standard agreement, but you can feel free to negotiate the terms or look for a better deal elsewhere.

You should be sure that the agreement covers the percentage, assigns responsibility for costs, and addresses any adjustments that might be made based on a quick settlement or other similar issues.


How Personal Injury Victims Benefit From Contingency Fee Agreements

When paid for by the hour, litigation comes at an astronomical cost. Fees of several hundred dollars an hour are standard, and even cases that settle out of court result in hundreds of billable hours.

Without contingency fee agreements, most accident victims can ill-afford legal representation. If plaintiffs lack counsel, insurance companies have little incentive to settle cases quickly for a fair amount.

With the advantage of a team of attorneys, defendants can capitalize on plaintiffs’ pro se status to shortchange them.

In the worst-case scenarios, pro se plaintiffs cannot refute defense lawyer arguments, resulting in lost cases and zero compensation.

Contingency fees also help plaintiffs who suffer financial hardship due to the injury. For example, after being struck by a vehicle, an accident victim usually acquires hefty medical bills.

Emergency room treatment, ambulance service, surgery, doctor visits, physical therapy, and other significant expenses easily total in the tens- or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Very few households can cope with extensive medical- or legal bills separately, let alone simultaneously.

On top of medical bills, injury victims often endure lost income. Broken legs, back injuries, and head wounds often lead to long periods of disability. In the most difficult situations, disabilities become permanent.

Loss of income devastates families.

They may need to spend down their savings, cash in retirement plans, and carry heavy credit card balances at sky-high interest rates.

In addition, the financial pinch leaves no room for paying hundreds of dollars an hour in legal fees.

Many accident victims also live through enormous pain and suffering. Because of their injuries, they have chronic pain and lose the ability to participate in activities they love.

In addition, daily life often becomes difficult. For example, personal injuries can make it impossible to complete simple chores around the house or go grocery shopping.

In many cases, victims bear the expense of hiring a service to perform these functions.

With all of these struggles, accident victims need a helping hand. They receive it from personal injury law firms that take cases on a contingency fee basis.

Because of these arrangements, clients are relieved of the stress of paying legal fees, allowing them to focus on what’s most important: getting better.


Most personal injury attorneys at a law firm work on a contingency basis for personal injury lawsuits instead of a lawyer's fee until the case settles with insurance representatives to recover compensation and additional expenses like


Contingency Fee Agreements Take the Uncertainty Out of Legal Fees

When paid hourly, legal fees are unpredictable. Some cases settle out of court in less than a year, resulting in less expense to the plaintiff.

Other matters drag on for many years because the defense tries to delay the case’s progress and wear down the plaintiff.

As the process unfolds, legal fees for lengthy processes mount, such as discovery, depositions, hearings, research, and witness preparation. If the case goes to trial, the court time alone costs tens of thousands of dollars.

Without predictability as to the out-of-pocket costs, many plaintiffs would be unable to proceed.

Without contingency fees, personal injury cases can easily consume a family’s entire net worth. Because personal injury lawyers work on contingency, plaintiffs know their exact out-of-pocket costs: $0.


Contingency Fee Agreements Cover Expenses

Many personal injury cases require expenses beyond attorneys’ fees. These include private investigators, expert witnesses, and research.

As with attorneys’ fees, the level of expenditures may be difficult to estimate at the outset; however, as with attorneys’ fees, expenses are covered by the contingency fee agreement.

Winning a case may require procuring evidence at a high cost, and contingency fees ensure that the plaintiff’s inability to pay out-of-pocket costs never bars them from receiving justice.


Contingency Fees Level the Playing Field

Insurance companies always have one huge advantage: They have loads of money for lawyers. This automatically places personal injury plaintiffs at a disadvantage.

Insurance companies can pay to fight a case in court for years, and only a very rare plaintiff can match their spending power.

Contingency fee agreements work to equalize the plaintiff and defendant financially. Without contingency fees, many plaintiffs with excellent cases would have to accept low settlements or give up because of the astronomical legal costs.

By removing this burden from their clients, personal injury attorneys prevent insurance companies from capitalizing on their deep pockets to cheat plaintiffs.


Contingency Fees Reduce Risk

Paying legal fees hourly exposes plaintiffs to the risk of running out of money to fund the legal fight. Law firms eliminate this risk by taking cases on contingency.

As a result, plaintiffs can sleep well at night knowing they can continue battling the insurance company for as long as it takes to win a fair settlement.

Then, if necessary, they can proceed to trial and through appeals without the fear of going broke in the process.


Understanding Personal Injury Lawyer Fees in Philadelphia

When seeking legal assistance for a personal injury claim in Philadelphia, one of the first questions that comes to mind is, “What percentage do lawyers take for personal injury cases?”

This concern is crucial as it directly impacts the financial recovery you can expect from your lawsuit or settlement.


Contingency Fee Basis: A Closer Look

Philadelphia personal injury lawyers typically work on a contingency fee basis. This arrangement means that clients do not pay upfront costs or hourly fees for legal services.

Instead, personal injury attorneys are compensated with a percentage of the settlement or court award received at the case’s conclusion.

The contingency fee percentage varies, but most personal injury lawyers in Philadelphia operate within the range of 33-55%.

This wide range is due to several factors, including the case’s complexity, the stage at which a settlement is reached, or if the case proceeds to trial.


The Rationale Behind Contingency Fees

Contingency fee arrangements arose to provide access to legal representation for all individuals, regardless of their financial status.

This method allows those who have sustained injuries due to another’s negligence to seek justice without the burden of hourly legal costs.

For many personal injury victims, the expenses associated with their injuries can be overwhelming. From mounting medical bills to lost income, the financial strain can make it seem impossible to afford a personal injury attorney.

Contingency fees work to level the playing field, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to pursue compensation.


personal injury lawyers woking on an injury claim in Philadelphia


Benefits of Contingency Fee Agreements

  1. No Upfront Costs: Clients are not required to pay any fees upfront, removing a significant barrier to seeking legal help.
  2. Risk Mitigation: Since the lawyer’s payment is contingent upon winning the case, attorneys are likely to take cases they believe have a strong chance of success, mitigating risk for both parties.
  3. Alignment of Interests: With the attorney’s fee tied to the case’s outcome, there is a shared interest in maximizing the financial recovery.
  4. Accessibility: This arrangement makes legal services accessible to those who might not otherwise afford them, ensuring that victims have a chance to hold the responsible party accountable.


Determining a Reasonable Contingency Fee


While the absence of a statutory cap on contingency fees in Pennsylvania offers flexibility, it also places the onus on clients to understand what constitutes a reasonable fee. Several factors influence what is considered reasonable:

  • Complexity of the Case: More complex cases require more resources and time, justifying a higher percentage.
  • Skill and Experience: Attorneys with a proven track record of success in personal injury cases may command higher fees due to their expertise.
  • Costs and Expenses: The agreement should clearly delineate how costs and expenses will be handled and whether these are included in the contingency fee or paid separately.


Understanding Costs and Expenses in Personal Injury Claims

When embarking on a personal injury claim, it’s crucial to grasp that attorney fees are just one piece of the financial puzzle.

Beyond these fees, various costs and expenses are critical to developing a robust case.

These can include filing fees, the expense of obtaining medical records, expert witness fees, and other sundry costs.

A well-drafted contingency fee agreement between you and your Philadelphia personal injury lawyer will clearly outline how these costs are handled, ensuring transparency from the outset.


Breakdown of Additional Costs in Personal Injury Cases

Filing Fees: Initiating a personal injury lawsuit involves certain administrative costs, with filing fees at the courthouse being one of the primary expenses. These fees are mandatory and vary depending on the court.

Medical Records: Accessing detailed medical records is essential for substantiating the extent of injuries sustained. Retrieving these records incurs costs, as healthcare providers may charge fees for the compilation and copying of your medical history.

Expert Witness Fees: In many personal injury cases, expert witnesses play a pivotal role in proving negligence, the extent of injuries, or the future impact of those injuries. Experts, whether medical professionals, accident reconstruction analysts, or industry specialists, typically command significant fees for their analysis and testimony.

Miscellaneous Expenses: Additional costs may include travel expenses for your lawyer to investigate the accident scene or consult with witnesses, postage for legal correspondence, and fees for obtaining police reports or other official documents.


personal injury attorneys working on a personal injury case without using an hourly fee


Advanced Costs and Reimbursement

A contingency fee agreement often includes provisions for these expenses, detailing whether your personal injury attorney will advance the costs necessary to pursue your claim.

This arrangement allows the case to move forward without immediate out-of-pocket costs to you, the client.

Upon achieving a settlement or court award, the advanced costs are then reimbursed from the gross recovery amount before the calculation of the attorney’s contingency fee.


Transparency and Agreement on Expenses

Transparency regarding the handling of these expenses is vital for a trusting attorney-client relationship.

Your Philadelphia personal injury lawyer should provide a clear and detailed explanation of potential costs and the reimbursement process.

This conversation should occur early, ideally during your free consultation, to avoid surprises later in the legal process.


The Significance of Detailed Record-Keeping

Effective legal representation also involves meticulous record-keeping of all costs and expenses related to your personal injury claim.

This practice ensures that every expense can be accurately tracked and appropriately reimbursed upon the successful resolution of your case.

It also provides you with a comprehensive view of the financial aspects of your claim, reinforcing the value of the legal services and the effort put forth to secure your compensation.


Strategic Investment in Your Case

While the prospect of additional costs might seem daunting, they represent a strategic investment in the strength of your personal injury claim.

Financing expert analyses, obtaining crucial documents, and ensuring thorough preparation for litigation are all essential steps in fighting for the fair compensation you deserve.

With the support of a skilled personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia, these expenses contribute to a well-founded case, aiming to cover not only these costs but also secure a financial recovery that addresses your injuries, suffering, and other losses.


Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer Fees: Commitment to Clarity

Clarity and transparency in the attorney-client relationship form the cornerstone of trust, especially when discussing fee arrangements.

A reputable Philadelphia personal injury lawyer is committed to ensuring that every aspect of the contingency fee agreement is not just clear but tailored to your understanding.

This agreement meticulously details not only the percentage taken by the lawyer in the event of a successful personal injury claim but also delineates all potential costs and expenses that may arise during the process.

This upfront transparency guarantees that there are no surprises, allowing you to make informed decisions about your representation.


personal injury attorneys working on a personal injury case to determine a final settlement after a car accident personal injury lawsuit


Broad Spectrum of Injury Claims

Though car accidents are often the most visible personal injury claims, the spectrum of cases Philadelphia personal injury lawyers manage is vast.

From the complexities of medical malpractice cases, where the nuances of healthcare protocols and standards come into play, to the straightforward yet impactful slip and fall incidents, workplace injuries that navigate both legal and employment landscapes, and beyond.

Each type of claim brings its set of challenges and requires a lawyer who is not just experienced but also adaptable and well-versed in various facets of personal injury law. This versatility ensures that regardless of the nature of your injury, you receive competent and effective legal support.


Understanding Final Settlements with Precision

Achieving a successful claim marks the beginning of another crucial phase—understanding and agreeing to the final settlement or court award distribution.

A trusted Philadelphia personal injury lawyer ensures a transparent breakdown of the settlement, explicitly detailing the deduction of attorney fees based on the agreed personal injury lawyer percentage, the reimbursement of any case-related costs, and the final net amount that you, the client, will receive.

This level of detail is provided in a manner that is easy to understand, ensuring you are fully informed of your financial recovery without the need for legal jargon.

This transparency is paramount, affirming that you have a comprehensive understanding of the outcome and how it aligns with your initial expectations set forth by the contingency fee agreement.


The Essential Role of Personal Injury Lawyer Percentage

The personal injury lawyer percentage is a crucial element of your case, influencing not just the lawyer’s motivation but also how much compensation you ultimately take home.

While the industry standard ranges, Philadelphia personal injury lawyers strive to balance fair compensation for their legal services with the imperative of ensuring that you receive a just portion of the settlement for your recovery and future stability.

Discussing and understanding this percentage upfront eliminates any ambiguity, setting the stage for a successful attorney-client partnership focused on achieving the best possible outcome for your personal injury claim.


Seeking Legal Representation

When faced with the aftermath of an injury due to another’s negligence in Philadelphia, the path to recovery often begins with finding the right legal advocate. At Mattiacci Law, we understand the importance of this decision.

Our team, led by dedicated Philadelphia personal injury lawyers, operates on a contingency fee basis, allowing you to seek justice and compensation without the burden of upfront legal fees. This commitment ensures that financial constraints never hinder your pursuit of justice.


Choosing the Right Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer

Choosing a lawyer to represent you is a decision that transcends mere numbers. At Mattiacci Law, we believe the right personal injury lawyer is one whose experience aligns with your case’s needs, whose area of specialization speaks to the nuances of your claim, and whose track record of success instills confidence.

More than that, our team is dedicated to offering personalized attention to each client, ensuring that you’re not just another case file. Our motivation extends beyond financial incentives; we are driven by a profound commitment to advocate for your rights and secure the justice and compensation you rightly deserve.


Free Consultation: The First Step

The journey to securing legal representation tailored to your unique needs starts with a complimentary consultation at Mattiacci Law. This no-obligation meeting is your chance to delve into the specifics of your case with a seasoned Philadelphia personal injury attorney.

It’s an invaluable opportunity to assess the potential value of your claim, unravel the complexities that might influence its trajectory, and discuss the structure of our contingency fee agreement. This consultation serves as the ideal moment for you to ask questions, express your concerns, and determine if Mattiacci Law is the perfect legal ally for your case.


Speak with a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’re asking what percentage do lawyers take for personal injury, you should consult different lawyers and compare their fees. We invite you to vett our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers and our fees. Contact the law offices of John Mattiacci today for a free case evaluation. Remember that we will never collect legal fees unless we win your case.


Related Content: What Percentage of Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial?

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