If you hire a lawyer to help you with a personal injury lawsuit, you can collect money if you win your case. You can also sometimes get the entity or person that harmed you to settle out of court if you have lots of evidence that they caused your injury or illness.
Assuming you win your case, you might expect specific things to happen. Maybe you’ve seen TV shows or movies where individuals won personal injury cases, and you think the next steps will resemble that.
Certain things happen after you win your lawsuit and get a personal injury settlement, while others do not. We’ll try to separate fantasy from reality.
You’ll Become a Millionaire
Let’s say someone hurts you, and you decide to bring a lawsuit against them. Hiring a Gainesville personal injury law firm can help you in this instance. You go through the trial process and win. You may think you’ll walk away with millions of dollars now.
That’s often false. You can sometimes collect millions of dollars, but to get a settlement amount that high, you must suffer a catastrophic injury. Losing a limb might win you millions of dollars, but someone causing you to sprain your ankle won’t get you that much.
You can expect to get different amounts if you hurt yourself a lot or a little. You might also get additional money for pain and suffering in some instances, but for the most part, you won’t get life-changing money unless the accident or illness caused lasting or permanent damage.
Winning a Personal Injury Settlement is Easy
You might think that winning a personal injury settlement is a simple matter. You just hire a lawyer, tell them what happened, and then you sue the defendant who you say caused your injury or illness. You explain to the jury what happened, and you win your case.
Sometimes it’s that straightforward, but just because someone hurt you or made you sick, that does not necessarily mean you’ll win your lawsuit. On some occasions, getting justice isn’t so easy.
If you have lots of evidence that proves someone harmed you, like pictures, videos, sworn witness testimony, physical evidence, etc., you have a better chance. However, the opposing counsel will try to get their client off the hook. They want to keep you from getting money just as much as your lawyer wants to win for you.
Sometimes, juries deny the justice you want so badly. Just because you feel you’re right does not necessarily mean it will play out the way you want in a courtroom setting. If the defendant won’t settle out of court, it comes down to the jury deciding, and maybe you don’t have enough evidence to convince them.
You Keep All the Money from the Lawsuit
If you win your lawsuit, you might also think you get all the money that’s coming your way. You won’t ever see all of it, though.
You must pay your lawyer if you win, and they often charge anywhere from 30-40%. You should pay them on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t pay anything unless they win the case for you. If they manage that, they’ll expect a large portion of your winnings.
You may think it’s unfair. You got hurt or sick, and your lawyer gets 30-40% when you win. Without the lawyer’s help, though, you probably can’t get one penny, even if you feel confident someone else harmed you. You can’t argue your case in court if you’re not a lawyer.
Technically, you can represent yourself if you choose that option, but you don’t know the law. You don’t know the proceedings to follow, and you’ll likely lose, even if it’s an open-and-shut case. You simply don’t have the necessary experience.
When you hear the number you’ll receive as a settlement, you won’t get that full amount. You must deduct the lawyer’s fee.
The Trial Won’t Take Long
You might also think the trial will take a day or two, and then you’ll get your settlement money if you win. That sometimes happens, but it’s rarely that fast and neat. Many times, the trial drags on while you produce witnesses, introduce evidence, and sit there will the opposing counsel tries to pick your case apart.
You might see some settlement money in the end, but in the meantime, you need to essentially pause your life while the trial happens. You can’t work, and presumably, your job won’t pay you while you’re in court. They might let you resume your job when it’s over, but in the meantime, you won’t have money coming in.
That sometimes strains your family situation. If you have a partner or spouse, they must pick up the slack. They might bring in money while you can’t do it, but you may also need additional support. They must look after the kids, prepare meals, clean the house, and so forth.
Longer trials sometimes take weeks or months. They might take years in rare instances. You should know the strain that’s coming when you decide to pursue a personal injury settlement in court.
You Can’t Get Money if You Partially Caused the Injury
If you hurt yourself, maybe you caused the injury to some extent, but someone else also played a part. You might think you can’t sue them if that’s the case.
In most instances, that’s incorrect. It varies state by state, but most states let you sue someone if they caused an injury or illness to some extent, but you bear some blame too. The jury must decide when they view the evidence whether they should reward you with money or not.
If the jury feels the other person or entity caused more than 50% of your injury or illness, you will likely see some money. You will get more if the person caused your accident and the jury says they’re 100% at fault.
Now, you know some facts vs. fiction regarding personal injury settlements.