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

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Most personal injury claims end up in settlement, even if the victim has to file a lawsuit first. For various reasons, however, the amount of your settlement might be less than the value of your claim. Moreover, once you negotiate your settlement, certain deductions will probably come out of your total. 

Limiting Factors

The following factors will limit the value of your claim, to the extent that they apply.

The Weight of the Evidence

In law, the truth doesn’t matter unless you can prove it. And only evidence can prove the truth. Your bargaining power in settlement negotiations will depend on how much evidence you have to back up your claim–and that depends on the extent of your skills in locating and generating evidence.

In a car accident claim, for example, imagine that the victim fails to check the defendant’s cell phone records and is therefore unable to prove that they were texting while driving at the time of the accident. 

Or, suppose that the defendant fails to obtain data from a truck’s event data recorder and is therefore unable to prove that the truck was speeding at the time of the accident. These types of failures can detract from the value of your claim.

Insurance Policy Limitations

Your claim might be worth $10 million. But if it’s insured for $50,000, then $50,000 is all you’re going to get from the insurance company. It is always possible, however, that a good lawyer will be able to locate a second or even a third defendant who not only bears responsibility for your injuries, but who also has the “deep pockets” to actually pay your claim.

Comparative Fault

Comparative fault is a relatively new legal doctrine designed for the situation where more than one party bears liability for an accident.  You might be 30% at fault for an accident, for example, while the defendant is 70% at fault. Although a court will determine these values at trial, parties often approximate them during settlement negotiations.

If you are 30% at fault, for example, you will lose 30% of your damages. Under Nevada law, however, any party over 50% at fault receives nothing. Consequently, the defendant will have to pay for all of their own damages. 


Most personal injury settlements are subject to certain deductions. Following are descriptions of some of the most common.

Case Expenses

All cases incur at least some expenses during their investigation and prosecution. Your lawyer will likely front these expenses to you and deduct them from your settlement later. Following are some typical examples:

  • Accident reconstruction costs
  • Administrative expenses
  • Consultant fees
  • Court filing fees
  • Court reporter fees
  • Deposition costs
  • Document filing fees
  • Expert analysis fees
  • Expert witness fees
  • Forensic analysis fees
  • Investigator fees
  • Legal research fees
  • Litigation support software fees
  • Medical records fees
  • Mediation fees
  • Police reports
  • Postage and copying fees
  • Settlement brochure production
  • Service of process fees
  • Telephone charges
  • Transcript fees
  • Travel expenses
  • Trial exhibits
  • Video recording/photography costs
  • Witness fees

If your lawyer does not win your case, you may or may not have to repay these expenses. Check your retainer agreement to make sure.

Legal Fees

Almost all personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. Under a contingency fee arrangement, your legal fees equal a percentage of the total amount of your settlement–typically between 30% and 40%. 

Medical Liens

You might have trouble paying your medical bills as they come due, especially before your settlement check arrives. Your healthcare provider might handle this situation by taking a medical lien on your settlement. If they do, they get to deduct the full amount of your medical expenses from your settlement before you see any of the money.


Tax consequences could apply to your personal injury settlement as well. Check with a tax lawyer to determine whether this is the case for your particular situation.

Disbursement Process

The insurance company (or whoever pays your settlement) will send a check to your lawyer. Your lawyer will place it into a client escrow account, complete all deductions, and send you the remainder of the money. The entire process shouldn’t take more than a few weeks, at most.

A Lawyer Can Help You Maximize the Value of Your Settlement

Personal injury settlement negotiations can get tricky. You will probably be negotiating against an insurance adjuster, who will be a professional negotiator. Once you factor in non-economic damages, the value of a personal injury settlement can vary wildly depending on your negotiation skills. 

Let a lawyer do the negotiating for you. Remember as well that only you can approve a settlement offer.

Contact Our Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyers De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers at For Help Today

If you’ve been injured in Las Vegas, NV, and need legal help contact our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys at De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers to schedule a free case evaluation today.

De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers – Las Vegas Office
1149 S Maryland Pkwy, Las Vegas, NV. 89104
(702) 222-9999
Open 24 hours

De Castroverde Accident & Injury LawyersSummerlin Office
410 S Rampart Blvd, Ste 480 Las Vegas, NV. 89145
(702) 297-6373
Open 24 hours

De Castroverde Accident & Injury LawyersHenderson Office
9555 S Eastern Ave, Las Vegas, NV. 89123
(702) 997-4264
Open 24 hours

Areas We Serve

At De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers our personal injury attorneys serve the following localities: Angel Park, Anthem, Boulder City, Downtown Las Vegas, East Las Vegas, Gibson Springs, Green Valley, Henderson, Lake Las Vegas, MacDonald Ranch, McCullough Hills, Mission Hills, Paradise, Peccole Ranch, Queensridge, Reno, Seven Hills, Smoke Ranch, Spring Valley, Summerlin, The Lakes, The Strip, Whitney, and more.
We also represent accident victims in Oakland, CA.

About Our Firm

De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers, located in Las Vegas, NV, is a personal injury law firm established over 30 years ago.
We have 100+ years of combined experience securing hundreds of millions for injured people throughout Nevada. If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, contact us today to discuss your case.

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