Understanding Legal Fees in Civil Injury Cases

understanding legal fees

Frequently Asked Questions about Legal Fees in Civil Injury Cases

For many people, the approach to understanding legal fees and costs can be confusing. It is important for victims of personal injury to consider the legal fees their case may incur, and how their attorney will work to help them understand their civil injury case’s legal fees as best as possible.

The following are typical questions asked in regards to our legal fees here at Apolinsky & Associates, LLC.

Question:  Is your fee taken out of the net settlement (the amount after the costs are deducted) or before?

Response:  Before. “Cost” is money that we expend for our clients. If you go to a doctor and he charges $200 for your records, then we pay $200 to get the records; at the end of the case we get reimbursed. We do not mark up the expenses, we just charge the case $200 if we spend $200 to get records. Our “fee” is based on the total recovery for your bodily injury claim.

Question: Are the costs explained to me prior to each one being incurred?

Response.  No, but you will get a full accounting and you will approve them before we finalize the settlement. It is not a good use of our time to contact you and say “we would like to send a letter, postage is $.50, may we have your permission to send?’

How we work with our clients: my goal is for you to have a positive experience. It is not fun being injured and you should focus on getting well. In addition, you do need to be comfortable that your lawyer is ethical, moral, and will do a good job for you.

A Hypothetical Example of How Legal Fees Work

The following is an example of how we could help you. This is purely a hypothetical and is not a reflection of your case because it is way too early in the process, but for purposes of our discussion:

You hire us, we spend $500.00 in cost.  We talk to you and tell you that we think your case is worth $6,000.  You agree. We further suggest asking the insurance company for $10,000 (the reasoning is based on 32 years of dealing with insurance companies). After we demand $10,000, the insurance company offers $3,000. We talk further and agree that if they raise the offer to $6,000, that you give us authority to settle. At this point, I talk further with the insurance company and they eventually offer $7,500 (because I am good at what I do –joking). I tell you and you agree to settle.

The next step is that we do a settlement statement and lay out:

  • $7,500 Settlement
  • $2,500 Fees
  • $500 Expenses
    • $400 Medical Records
    • $85 File Setup Fee
    • $15 Postage and Photocopies
  • $4,500 Net to Client

About the Author

Stephen Apolinsky

Stephen D. Apolinsky is a Personal Injury Attorney who specializes in representing individuals and families concerning wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases. Stephen is licensed to practice in Georgia, Alabama, and the District of Columbia. With over 33 years of experience representing personal injury victims, Stephen has successfully tried over 80 cases to verdict before judges or juries, and has negotiated over 300 cases to out-of-court settlements. Stephen has been recognized as a Georgia Super Lawyer, and as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association.