If you have suffered an injury because of the negligent or intentional behavior of another person or party, you may have a valid personal injury case. Choosing to hire a Florida injury lawyer may seem intimidating because of the unknown costs of legal representation.
We can help ease your mind and provide insight into the value of the services you are receiving. Here is an overview of common personal injury attorney fees in Florida and what they mean to you.
Determining Factors for Florida Personal Injury Attorney Fees
How much do attorneys charge for Florida personal injury cases?
There is more than meets the eye when it comes to answering this question. Not all personal injury cases are the same, and the unique circumstances of each case matter.
Difficulty of the Case
The difficulty of the case could impact the fees associated with legal representation. Difficulty could arise because of the obscurity of the law, the circumstances of the case, the availability of evidence, and other factors. The more complicated the case, the higher the legal fees might be.
Amount of Research Involved
Many cases are not as cut and dry as clients may think. If they were, the need for legal representation would not be as prevalent. Independent investigations are often necessary to determine the facts of the accident. In addition, your attorney will research specific statutes or laws to support the case.
Expertise and Experience
Personal injury is a broad area of law that encompasses any injury caused negligently or intentionally by another person. The negligent person must have owed the victim a duty of care.
This includes everything from vehicle crashes to dog bites, slip and fall accidents to medical malpractice, and wrongful death claims to products liability cases. It is not uncommon for attorneys to specialize and excel in a handful of specific case types in order to become the best in that area of practice.
Florida personal injury overhead costs vary for each practice. These costs include office space rent or mortgage, support staff salaries, technology and equipment, continuing education costs, travel expenses, and more. This is one of the reasons that the cost of legal representation may differ from one jurisdiction to the next.
How Much Are Attorney Fees for Personal Injury?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to attorney fees. Each lawyer has the right to choose how they will be compensated. Your injury attorney should always be willing to discuss likely charges after doing a full case evaluation.
Other topics that should be considered during the initial meeting are the anticipated time to resolve the case, difficulties that may arise, concerns about representation, and realistic potential outcomes. Transparency throughout the process helps to build trust between you and the attorney and sets clear expectations for everyone involved.
Lawyers take cases on contingency for personal injury more so than any other area of law. This means that the client is not responsible for paying any upfront fees.
The attorney agrees to accept a percentage of the money they recover as their payment. Personal injury attorney fees in Florida are agreed upon when the case is accepted. These fees are negotiable up to a certain point.
Court filing fees, witness costs, and other incidental expenses associated with representation may be deducted from your portion of the recovery compensation. This is in addition to the attorney’s percentage. These costs are still typically paid by the client, regardless of the verdict.
Rule 4-1.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct sets contingency fee limitations to personal injury and property damage cases that occur because of accidents and product liability cases, and in some cases, medical malpractice.
Here are the standard contingency fee limitations:
- A lawyer can receive up to 33 1/3 percent of any recovery up to $1 million if the case settles before an answer is filled or an appointment of arbitrators is demanded.
- A 40 percent fee is allowed up to $1 million if the case is settled or won at any point after an answer is filed or demand for appointment of arbitrators.
- In addition to the 40 percent fee, an attorney may charge a maximum of 30 percent on any recovery between $1 million and $2 million.
- If the verdict or settlement is above $2 million, an additional 20 percent can be charged for that sum.
- If the defendant admits liability but chooses to argue the damages amount, contingency fees stay at 33 1/3 percent for the first $1 million and drop to 20 percent between $1 million and $2 million, and to 15 percent over $2 million.
- An additional 5 percent may be added after trial or settlement if the case is appealed and your lawyer has to file an action to help you collect your judgment.
Under Article I, Section 26 of the Florida Constitution a different set of contingency fee stipulations applies to medical malpractice cases. You have the option to waive the limitations with a detailed waiver.
Flat or Fixed Attorney Fees
Personal injury attorney fees in Florida are rarely flat or fixed fees. This type of payment obligation involves a set price for a very specific service. Something like drafting a will or conducting a real estate transaction is often done for a flat fee.
Hourly Fee for Service
Fixed hourly fees are a common way for attorneys to bill clients. The attorney is responsible for the detailed accounting of hours worked. The final fee may also include out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the attorney.
What Are You Getting for Your Personal Injury Attorney Fees in Florida?
Going it alone is not your best option in a personal injury case.
An experienced personal injury attorney will evaluate your case, research applicable laws, conduct an investigation into the case, determine estimated timelines for the case, file necessary paperwork, negotiate on your behalf, prepare your case for trial, and execute trial proceedings if necessary.
The team at Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon understands the complex Florida legal system and has personal injury specialists who can help determine the best strategy to get the recovery you deserve. We work on a contingency fee basis. Contact us online or call (850) 444-4878 to schedule a free case consultation.