Not all personal injury law firms charge a fair legal fee. A contingent fee percentage can be taken off the gross or the net. Calculating the personal injury lawyer fees off the net puts more money in the clients pocket. Ethical personal injury law firms take their fee off of the net.

A fee based off the net gives the lawyer incentive to work at reducing the liens too. If the fee is off the gross the lawyer has no incentive to save you money be working to reduce the liens. The lawyers fee would be the same regardless.

It is important to know how your fee will be calculated. Will it be a fair legal fee based off the net or will it be off the gross?  The calculators below indicate the difference in a hypothetical case.  Change the numbers in the calculators to see how the amount of money you receive is effected.



Now compare the the NET FAIR LEGAL FEE MODEL above with the GROSS FEE MODEL below.


In the example loaded into the calculators above the client will save $16,666.66 with the net fair legal fee model.  That is a significant difference.

To really see how a fair legal fee can differ from one where the fee is off the gross consider another situation.  You are hit by a vehicle that has Oregon minimum auto insurance policy limits – $25,000 per person injured or $50,000 per incident. You have liens totaling $15,000 for medical care you received.  The insurance company is causing you trouble so you get a lawyer. The case costs are zero in this example.  If your lawyer takes his fee off the gross and pays full liens then the breakdown will be:

  • $15,000 – Lien holders
  • $8,333.33 – Lawyer
  • $1,666.67 – Client

This is certainly not a fair legal fee!  Yet this is how many lawyers base their fee.


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