How Much Do You Receive if You Sue? – What Are the Costs in a Florida Accident Claim?

Posted By on July 10, 2014

Last Update: 12/17/15

Some of the most common questions that accident victims ask their lawyers when they are deciding whether to pursue an injury claim or file a lawsuit are “how much money will I get if I sue and I win?” or “what kind of money will be paid on my claim?

People want to know the bottom line when deciding whether or not the heartache, stress, time, and hassle is worth the money they may get from the defendant who caused the crash or their insurance company.

Is There A Way To Know Your Damage Award or Settlement Total in Advance?

Now, before we get down to dollars and cents, you have to realize that each case is unique and there is no way to honestly and accurately know what your damage award might be — how much that total jury verdict or total settlement amount will be in your future cannot be predicted. Don’t trust someone who tells you that they can give you that answer, either.

The truth is that we can tell you that our law firm will zealously fight for you and your family — and that we want you to recover every last penny that is due to you because you have been hurt and suffered injuries and deserve justice.

Still, there’s the need to have some idea of what the future holds if you sue. So, below are some expense considerations; items that will be deducted from your award or settlement before you get to your bottom line.

How Much Is Your Case Worth? You have to do the math.

The total amount that you receive in a lawsuit or settlement of a claim is your “damages total.” However, that is not the amount that you will be able to deposit in your bank account or use to pay off debts and expenses.

Before you can determine what you will ultimately receive, you must figure out the amount that will deducted from that total damage award coming to you from a courtroom trial or from a settlement closing table.

Deductions in a Florida Personal Injury Recovery Include:

1. Subrogation

If you have had lots of medical expenses and your own insurance policies (PIP, MedPay, BCBS, etc.) have covered your medical costs and doctor bills, then when you win your injury case those insurance companies may demand reimbursement from the total amount you’ve received from the defendant(s) for the money they have paid out in covering your medical claims.

How do you know the amounts that they are demanding? Usually, there will be medical liens filed in the court case to let everyone know the amounts that the insurance companies are asking to be paid in reimbursement.

2. Court Costs

There are some expenses that are tied to filing a lawsuit. These include the “filing fee” that must be paid to file a lawsuit, a standard amount charged by the court clerk; the charge for formally serving the lawsuit on the defendant (summons, notice); as well as charges for serving subpoenas on witnesses for trial, and the expense of getting copies of court transcripts. These will be deducted from the total award, usually having already been covered by your personal injury lawyer during the course of the case.

3. Attorneys’ Fees

You will know the attorneys’ fees in your case before you begin your fight. Your personal injury lawyer will explain how legal fees work, and you will be able to read over all the details of your lawyer-client relationship in the written retainer agreement that you sign to hire your lawyer to work for you.

Different personal injury lawyers will charge differently. Most will offer you a contingent fee agreement for your personal injury case, where the lawyer does not get paid unless and until you win at trial or resolve your claim in a settlement negotiation.

These percentages may change as the case proceeds. For instance, the percentage may be a third of the recovery if the case is settled before a case is filed at the courthouse, and the percentage may increase if the lawyer has to go institute a formal legal fight by filing a lawsuit down at the courthouse.

In a contingent fee contract, your attorney’s fees are deducted from the total damage award. Your lawyer is not paid if you don’t win at trial or agree to a settlement amount.

Note: Our law firm offers a contingency fee agreement for our injury clients – we do not ask an injured person to pay anything at all in legal fees or case expenses until there is a recovery. For more information on our contingent fee contract terms, please feel free to contact us by email or by phone at the number shown above.

4. Legal Expenses

There are expenses tied to filing an insurance claim or an injury lawsuit, just like everything else in life. Each case is different.

Expenses are a lot more if you have to go to court and file there than if you can resolve your case in settlement before a lawsuit is filed. There are expenses that have to be paid in the course of a lawsuit that can be high — things like expert witness fees, deposition costs, and trial visual exhibits.

For instance, if there is a big fight on who is to blame for a car crash, an expert in accident reconstruction may be vital to show that the defendant is to blame for what happened to you. That expert will charge hundreds of dollars per hour, but his or her testimony is key to your case and a necessary legal expense.

Bottom Line: What Do You Get?

Before your recovery, there is no way to know for certain what you will receive on your injury claim. However, a discussion with your experienced injury lawyer, where you discuss the merits of your case (its strengths and weaknesses) and work together on calculating things like medical bills, filing fees, expert needs, etc., can get you to a ballpark figure that will help you decide what is best for you and your family.

What Should You Do?

A good piece of advice if you have been hurt is to at least talk with an experienced personal injury lawyer to find out all of the compensation that you are entitled to receive for your injury.  This is especially true for clients who seek to settle an injury claim on their own. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person) to discuss your case and answer your questions.

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Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.

 

 

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