Basic NY Personal Injury Settlement Breakdown: How Much Goes in My Pocket?

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If you suffer an injury that was not your fault, you may be able to claim a personal injury settlement. However, there will be additional costs that you will need to bear in mind as you calculate exactly how much of the settlement you will receive.

The Main Costs of a Personal Injury Case

The expenses involved in a personal injury case can be broken down into three categories:

  • Lawyer fees
  • Court costs
  • Medical expenses

Once these three expenses have been paid, you will pocket the remainder of the personal injury settlement amount.

New York Personal Injury Lawyer Fees

You will need to pay your New York personal injury lawyer for their services, and this will generally be taken out of the final amount of your settlement.

In many cases, these lawyers will work on a contingency basis, which essentially means there is only a fee to pay if the case is won. This will be a percentage amount of the final settlement in most cases, and the legal professional will outline this in their agreement before the case begins. This is why it is important to read through the attorney's contract thoroughly before signing up for their services. Different attorneys will operate different fee and cost structures.

New York Court Costs

In the state of New York, you will typically have to pay court costs over the course of your personal injury settlement proceedings. All of these costs will need to be factored into the settlement amount, as the amount you receive will need to cover these costs.

Some of the court costs you may need to cover include:

The Cost Of Expert Witness Testimonies

A standard witness may be anyone who was present at the incident or who can provide a character reference for you or another party involved in the case. These witnesses are required to testify if requested and will not be paid. Expert witnesses are different — an expert witness may be a doctor or an expert in another relevant field. They will provide the value of their own knowledge and understanding to the case, but this will generally come at a cost.

The Cost Of Filing Documents

You will need to file documents to begin the court proceedings, and you will need to repeat the filing process if you add further documents for consideration. A cost will be incurred for each document filed.

Paying Court Reporters At Depositions

In New York, court reporters are required to create a record of the trial proceedings. When a deposition is made, the court reporter will need to create an accurate transcript of this to be added to the court record. Court reporters need to be paid for their work, and this is factored into the court costs.

Costs Associated With Handling Medical Documents

Medical documents are almost always required during a personal injury case. Copying and delivering these documents will usually incur a charge.

Covering Travel Expenses And Other Costs

There may be a number of travel expenses or other costs incurred during personal injury court proceedings. These may need to be covered by the funds awarded from the final settlement.

Medical Costs

In order to be successful in your personal injury claim, you will have to undergo some sort of medical treatment or assessment. These services will carry a cost that must be covered.

Some medical services may have already been paid for before you begin the court proceedings or before you receive your settlement. Of course, these will not need to be paid for a second time, so will not be included in the balance. Any outstanding costs, charges and fees may need to be covered by the settlement you receive following the court proceedings.

These costs may include the following:

  • Fees incurred during a stay in the hospital
  • Bills incurred following treatment by a doctor or other medical professional
  • Emergency treatment and transport to medical facilities — often delivered by emergency medical teams and ambulance crews
  • The cost of any medication provided to you
  • The cost of any medical equipment or products provided to you
  • Any other costs associated with your care that have not already been covered

Some Variations on the Cost Breakdown

Not all New York personal injury settlements are handled the same way, and this may be reflected in the final costs. For example:

  • Some attorneys may charge a flat rate, although it is more likely that they will take a percentage of the final settlement.
  • Many attorneys will charge a percentage of around 33%, but some may charge a higher percentage.
  • Medical insurance companies may use the personal injury settlement to claim some of their own costs back.
  • Expenses can be further broken down into costs and fees. Fees are generally considered to be predictable expenses, such as court fees, while costs may be additional expenses. You will need to bear both of these in mind when you calculate how much of the personal injury settlement you will be able to keep.

Seeking the Right Personal Injury Settlement

With many different expenses to consider, it's critical to make sure that you seek the right amount from your personal injury settlement. The settlement is intended to ensure that you are not left out of pocket for any expenses incurred as a result of your injury and that you are properly compensated for any pain, inconvenience, loss of opportunity, or other negative effects.

If your settlement only barely covers your costs and fees, the system has not worked. You have not received the benefit you are entitled to after significant personal hardship.

With this in mind, you will need to work with your attorney to make sure that your settlement is enough to cover all expenses and provide you with adequate recompense once all deductions have been made.

When you work with your attorney, you will need to bear these in mind:

  • The pain, discomfort and distress caused by your injuries
  • Any missed working days or financial losses as a direct result of the injury
  • Your own level of blame or any other mitigating factor that the defendant may cite
  • The cost of the insurance policy, as well as any increase in premiums following a claim
  • Other forms of compensation, including workers' compensation awarded by New York authorities
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Work with an Experienced Legal Team on Your Personal Injury Case

You will need reliable legal counsel and guidance for your personal injury case. Reach out today to discover more about what an experienced legal team can do for you.


Allan J. Ahearne, Jr


Dedicated NYC & Hudson Valley lawyer Allan J. Ahearne, Jr. builds trust with clients. Known for creative problem-solving, he specializes in personal injury cases, commercial litigation, and corporate disputes. Ahearne's integrity, professionalism, and results make him a trusted advocate

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