Personal injury lawyers operate on contingency fees, meaning they only get paid if their client wins the injury case. While on the surface the contingency fee model may sound like an act of benevolence, many personal injury lawyers use this model to make more money than they would if they didn’t work on contingency. The industry norm for contingency fees in personal injury law is around 33.3%.
Average Contingency Fee in a Personal Injury Case?
The industry norm of a 33.3% contingency fee is well-documented across a variety of sources. The New York City Bar Legal Referral Service, an arm of the New York City Bar Association, recognizes the “ordinary percentage” for a contingency fee in a personal injury case is 33%.
Academics also write about 33% being the standard fee for a personal injury lawyer. For example, a Stanford Law Review Article published in 2013 cited contingency fees for legal services are “sticky around 33%.” Further supporting this point is a 2015 article from the University of Illinois Law Review which states a “clear majority of [personal injury] cases have a contingency fee of one-third [33.3%] of the recovery.”
Media sites, including AllLaw, write that contingency fees are “between 33 and 40 percent” for a personal injury case. The New York Times further corroborates the 33% fee, writing “contingency fees are uniformly 33 percent.”
The 33% contingency fee is so pervasive that the American Bar Association writes fees in a contingent fee arrangement are “often one-third [33 percent] to 40 percent.” We see the general acceptance of this rate across the industry as being problematic.
Want to find your best evidence supporting that law firms charge 33% pre-suit? Google PI lawyers or personal injury attorneys. Click on the first few links, give the numbers a call, and ask what they charge if they settle your car accident case before trial. We’re confident that 33% is the minimum personal injury attorney fee you will hear from nearly every law firm.
Expenses in a Personal Injury Case
Did you know that most personal injury lawyers cover the costs or expenses as they come? They usually just deduct them from the total settlement.
Here are some of the common expenses and costs:
- Administrative expenses
- Court filing fee
- Copying fees
- Expert witness fees
- Costs related to evidence gathering
Find a Trusted Attorney Today
Mighty knows that a higher legal fee or contingent fee means less settlement money for clients. If you need help settling a case, head over to Mighty's Car Accident Attorney Directory to find an attorney in your area today.
Written ByJosh Schwadron
Chief Executive Officer
About the author
Joshua is a lawyer and tech entrepreneur who speaks and writes frequently on the civil justice system. Previously, Joshua founded Betterfly, a VC-backed marketplace that reimagined how consumers find local services by connecting them to individuals rather than companies. Betterfly was acquired by Takelessons in 2014. Joshua holds a JD from Emory University, and a BA in Economics and MA in Accounting from the University of Michigan.
About the reviewer