The topic of this video is how much of a personal injury settlement should you be receiving. Now I want to use the term you, I’m referring specifically to the client in a personal injury case and with us being lawyers in Saint Petersburg, Florida, we process injury claims day in and day out, and our clients often come to us throughout the course of the case. And their primary question is, well, what? What does it mean for me? What is the net settlement? To me, I understand Mr. McQuaid, you’re talking about x number of dollars, but what’s the net to me? So what I like to do in every single case where there’s been, there have been numbers discussed, we produce a settlement sheet and now I don’t know if every lawyer does that, but my office does. So we prepare a settlement sheet outline outlining what the offer is and then again, deducting out all of the expenses and showing the net settlement to the client.
Because think about it, at the end of the day, you as the client, you’re primarily concerned with, what do I get? What is the check to me? I understand you may have settled for a huge number of dollars, but if I’m not receiving a big proportion of it, what does it really matter? So, uh, I’d like to go through using this video just to sort of discuss where the fees costs and other, uh, itemized expenses come out of a settlement that you need to be prepared for. So right off the top you have attorney’s fees out. Uh, if a case goes into litigation, the fee is 40%. If it’s settled prior to litigation or lawsuit, it’s a third. Now that number is also somewhat flexible. Uh, for example, if I filed a lawsuit and the case has not gone on for years, often I will go back and say to the client, I’ll reduce my feedback down to a third in order to maximize the number of dollars.
So again, it’s something to think about when you’re negotiating these settlements with your lawyer. That additional 7% right off the top is potentially negotiable. We normally do it here, it’s not hard and fast, but we normally do it. Uh, the next item comes out of the settlement is costs. So there are hard costs and there are soft costs. Hard costs are our costs that the lawyer has to pay a copy charges to medical providers for records. Uh, for example, um, postage perhaps if you’re in litigation, a court reporter fees, transcript fees. So those are hard costs. Uh, they’re also soft costs. Soft costs are those costs that the law firm will charge in addition to the hard costs for their own sort of overhead expenses. So we charge a certain copy charges if they’re facts charges related to it. So, um, there are hard and soft costs, they are added up and then they come out of the total settlement as well.
But that’s something you need to watch for. We try to really watch those costs and keep them down. I have heard that certain other firms really run up those costs so they can double dip. Do you, if you’re not careful with fees plus costs and they’re making money on costs on the backend too. So that’s something to look out for out of your settlement money. Lastly, you’ve got potentially medical bills and Liens to be repaid out of the settlement. So, for example, you’ve got a doctor that runs up a say an additional $5,000 bill that you’re on an lop for. Well that’s something that you’re going to have to repay out of the settlement, but that 5,000 may not always be dollar for dollar. So at our firm, once a settlement offer has been made, we go back to the doctor said, hey doc, are you willing to accept um, 4,000 on the bill, 3000 on the bill, whatever the case may be.
What we look at is whether that doctor has already been paid some money through insurance, whether they’ve written off any of it, and then what’s leftover. So think about that. And you can also potentially put more money in your pocket by getting those medical bills reduced. And lastly are the medical liens. So if you’ve had any type of insurance pay for any bills, they may have asserted a lien against the recovery and the file. Well, again, just like medical bills, you can go back and ask those lien, the lien holders to take a reduction. And normally they will not waive those liens completely. You’re normally maybe a 25 to 33% reduction, but still, that’s something that your law firms should be doing for you to maximize the amount of dollars in your pocket on the back end. So, uh, at the end of the day, after you deduct the fees, the costs, medical bills, and the Liens, then you’ll know your net number. So hopefully that explains exactly how it works when you get a settlement offer and then back out those various expenses to find out what the net is. And we do this in every single personal injury case here in St. Petersburg, whether it’s a car accident, motorcycle accident, slip and fall, no matter of the type of injury, the same analysis applies. So hope, hopefully, you found this video helpful.
*The above has been transcribed by a third party service and has not been checked for accuracy.
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