A personal injury settlement occurs when your attorney and opposing counsel come to an agreement on the damages you’ll get to cover medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. Your actual settlement amount will vary depending on a host of circumstances, including your level of injury, the type of accident, your employment situation, and what sort of bills you’ve incurred as a result of someone else’s negligence. Your attorney will fight for you at no upfront cost with no hourly fees, but will take a reasonable fee from your final recovery.

The process isn’t instantaneous: Your attorney won’t take the first offer, but will instead go back and forth with opposing counsel to get a dollar amount that is suitable to your circumstances. Once the parties agree on an appropriate amount, it can take up to six weeks to get your money.