How Much Do Lawyers Take From Settlement?

A lawyer will take a percentage of a client’s settlement from a successful claim to cover fees, expenses and bills from the case that the lawyer has incurred. 

The percentage that the lawyer takes from a settlement may seem high, it’s justified through all the services they provide for the individual and using their years of expertise in the field to increase the chance of success of the claim.

The behind the scenes work involved is so much more intricate and long-winded than what we see on the likes of legal reality TV shows or even law tv dramas. 

The lawyer will also try to pursue the best compensation on behalf of the individual by presenting any relevant evidence and records to pursue the claim.

How much?

The percentage that your lawyer takes will be dependent upon how big your settlement is and when and how the case was settled. There will normally be a base percentage and then any extras costs incurred on top of that. 

You will not know the total figure your lawyer will take from the settlement before the result of your case. They may give you a guided estimate based on the severity of your case and on similar cases they’ve taken on, but be aware that extra costs can occur throughout the process of the case.

How much lawyers take from a settlement can sometimes be based upon their experience in the field. An experienced lawyer may ask for a slightly higher percentage, where as a newcomer may settle for a lower percentage.

Some lawyers will even require upfront fees or a deposit before starting a case if the case has very little evidence.

If it is a personal injury claim, you may be asked by the lawyer to pay a contingency fee which averts costly legal fees that others normally acquire for an entirety of a case. This contingency fee is only payable if the result is in favour of the plaintiff.

This means that people from backgrounds of lower means can still claim their civil rights in court without having to incur debt. Lawyers sometimes will not take on cases based on a contingency basis unless the case is strong.

A contingency fee can rise during the case if the trial becomes more complex and requires greater resources.

There is not a set amount in dollars that a lawyer can take from a financial settlement in a case. In most circumstances, if the case goes to trial.

The lawyer can take up to 33% from a personal injury settlement if they wish, but many do take less having agreed with the individual before legal proceedings took place. 

However, if the case is settled before it goes to trial then your lawyer can claim up to 25% of your settlement compensation. 

So let’s say your settlement was $10,000 and your lawyer takes 33% of this without any extra fees. Your lawyer will take $3,300 from the settlement to cover their services and you will take $6,700.

If your case was settled before trial and your lawyer takes 25%, they would take $2500 of the $10,000 settlement.

If a settlement occurs after a lawsuit is filed, the state allows a lawyer to take up to 40% of a settlement. However, this could rise to up to 60% of your settlement if your lawyer covered all the costs and expenses of services and fees needed for a complex case.

So you could be looking at gaining under half of your settlement back.

Here is a list of services by your lawyer that will incur extra cost during a case:

  • Testimonies
  • Filing and postage
  • Police reports
  • Medical record fees
  • Trial exhibits
  • Investigator fees

These additional expenses will only be required if they prove valuable and add merit to your case. Seeking out police and medical reports can not only be quite expensive but also prove extremely time-consuming, so they wouldn’t carry out these services for a case unless completely necessarily.

Disputing your lawyer’s cut off the settlement

It’s very rare for clients to dispute the fee taken by the lawyer in the settlement to cover bills and expenses.

However, if you feel that the list of expenses seems unusually high, you can either a) apply through the courts to have the bills assessed b) request an assessment through the accounting department if the lawyer is part of a firm c) you can seek free legal advice to ensure everything is correct.

The longer it takes to settle your claim, the more expenses you will acquire. On average, it takes 3 to 9 months to settle a personal injury claim. The case can be more complex if the accused party claims that someone else was to blame or you are partly to blame for your injury.

You will not receive the settlement check

Your lawyer will receive your settlement check, to ensure that they get paid for their services.  Yes this is completely normal and you will eventually get your settlement money.

Your lawyer will contact you once your check has come through to them and provide a list of all the things they’ll be deducting from the settlement to cover expenses, bills and fees and the total amount that will be sent to you.

If you wish, you can dispute this and the lawyer will put the money in a trust until the issues are resolved. 


Thank you for visiting. This website is for informational purposes only. None of the information provided is intended to constitute, nor does it constitute, legal advice, and none of the information necessarily reflects the opinions of Misty Rock Capital LLC dba or anyone associated, employed or affiliated with Misty Rock Capital LLC dba