Contingency Fees in Personal Injury Cases
You may have heard the ads claiming that an attorney will represent you for no cost to you. You might be wondering how this works, or thinking that there is a catch and you will owe an attorney a large fee. In personal injury cases in Florida, attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not pay attorney’s fees up front, but instead your attorney will take a percentage of your financial recovery at the end of a case. Having an attorney represent you in a personal injury case is very important. The idea behind contingency fees is to give you the best legal representation from the onset of a lawsuit all the way to the end, without worrying about an expensive attorney bill.
Florida Contingency Fees
At the start of an attorney-client relationship, the attorney and the client will come to an agreement on what type of fee will be required. In a contingency fee situation, like personal injury cases, there is no up-front payment. The attorney and client will come to an agreement on the percentage of the financial recovery the attorney will take at the end of the case. If there is no settlement/recovery in the case, the attorney receives no payment and the client does not owe the attorney any sum of money.
The Florida Supreme Court has set limitations on contingency fees.
- Before Filing an Answer: If a case is settled before the defendant answers a complaint, there is a cap of 33 1/3 percent of the settlement amount. The fee is limited to $1 million.
- After Filing an Answer: If a case is settled after the defendant answers a complaint, there is a cap of 40 percent of the settlement amount. The fee is limited to $1 million.
Reasonable Fees and Costs
An attorney is able to collect a percentage of the award amount, but it must be reasonable. There are many factors considered in a reasonable fee:
- The time, labor, complexity, difficulty, and skill required to perform the legal service
- The likelihood that the acceptance of the particular employment will preclude other employment by the attorney
- The rate of similar legal services in the area
- The significance of the subject manner, responsibility in representation, dn results
- Time limitations imposed by the client, or agreements between client and attorney
- Nature and length of professional relationship with the client
- Experience, reputation, diligence, and ability of the lawyers performing the legal service and the skill or efficiency reflected in providing such services.
Reasonable cost considerations are:
- Extent of disclosure of costs made to the client
- If there is an agreement between attorney and client regarding costs
- The amount charged by third-parties for services
- Reasonable charges for providing in-house services
- Relationship and past conduct between the lawyer and client
An Attorney Can Help You Today
If you are contemplating filing a personal injury suit, the Leifer Law Firm can help. We can review your legal issues and answer questions you may have. Contact us today for your free consultation.