Do you want to know the percentage attorneys receive in a settlement? At its most basic, most personal injury attorneys in Florida charge 33 ⅓ percent of any recovery up to $1 million. However, the attorney may charge more if your case is complex or requires trial or arbitration.
This may seem straightforward, but in reality, attorney’s fees are often more complex. When you first hire a personal injury attorney to represent you after a Florida accident, you may not know how much compensation you’ll receive or what percentage your attorney will receive after your settlement.
That’s why discussing fee structure with your attorney before they begin handling your case is important. Your attorney should be able to show you a breakdown of the percentage they receive out of your settlement and any other upfront costs you may be expected to pay.
Let’s face it; personal injury lawsuits are complex. Injured accident victims are often left with far too little when they try to negotiate claims on their own. Insurance companies know this. That’s why they encourage accident victims to settle without legal representation. Yet, hiring an attorney is one of the best ways to significantly increase your compensation.
How Do Personal Injury Attorneys in Florida Get Paid?
Getting the compensation you deserve requires skill, experience, and resources. Most personal injury lawyers spend countless hours building your case, negotiating with insurance companies, and helping you get the money you need to recover. They do this on a contingency basis, meaning they don’t get paid unless they can win or settle your case.
How do contingency fees work? Instead of charging an upfront fee or billing the client by the hour, the attorney agrees to take a percentage of the financial recovery or settlement received by the client if the case is successful. However, if the case is unsuccessful and there is no recovery, the lawyer typically receives no payment for their services. This means anyone can seek justice and recover compensation without worrying about how they’ll afford it. Your attorney’s fees simply come out of your final settlement.
Contingency fee arrangements are commonly used in personal injury cases, such as car accidents, medical malpractice, or product liability claims, where the injured party may not have the financial means to pay an attorney upfront. It allows individuals with limited financial resources to access legal representation without worrying about upfront costs.
The percentage of the contingency fee can vary depending on the type of case and the complexity of the legal matter.
Contingency fees can benefit clients as they incentivize attorneys to work diligently on the case to secure the best possible outcome. The attorney’s payment is directly tied to the case’s success, aligning their interests with the client’s.
Attorney Fees for Majority of Personal Injury Cases in Florida
The amount that your personal injury attorney will receive from your settlement depends largely on a couple of factors, including the type of case, if there was a filing of an answer or demand for the appointment of arbitrators, and the amount of your settlement.
Here is the fee structure that the majority of personal injury attorneys, including the lawyers at Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, charge:
- 33 1/3 percent of any recovery up to $1 million; plus
- 30 percent of any portion between $1 million and $2 million; plus
- 20 percent for any portion exceeding $2 million.
This fee structure applies to cases that settle before the filing of an answer or the demand for an appointment of arbitrators. If the case settles after the filing of an answer or the demand for an appointment of arbitrators, then the following fee structure typically applies:
- 40 percent of any recovery up to $1 million; plus
- 30 percent of any recovery between $1 million and $2 million; plus
- 20 percent of any portion of the recovery exceeding $2 million.
If all defendants acknowledge liability at the time of submitting their answers and only request a trial to determine damages:
- 33 1/3 percent of any awarded amount up to $1 million; in addition to
- 20 percent of any part of the awarded amount between $1 million and $2 million; along with
- 15 percent of any part of the awarded amount exceeding $2 million.
An extra 5% of any awarded amount shall be applicable after initiating any appellate proceeding or when post-judgment relief or action is required to recover the judgment.
What Do Attorney Fees Cover?
The term “attorney’s fees” in a contingency fee agreement refers to the percentage of the compensation that has been agreed upon, which compensates the attorney for their time, effort, and work devoted to the case. This includes the lawyer’s daily tasks and activities while handling a personal injury claim and lawsuit. To ensure accurate billing, lawyers must record the time spent on the case.
Florida personal injury attorney contingency fees typically cover the costs of:
- Researching relevant laws.
- Conducting investigations into the accident, parties involved, and injuries sustained.
- Gathering, organizing, and retrieving evidence related to the case.
- Interviewing witnesses, defendants, and other relevant parties.
- Negotiating with liable parties on behalf of their client.
- Engaging in communications with the client, insurance representatives, and other interested parties.
- Preparing for trial, if necessary.
- Representing their client in court proceedings.
What Don’t Attorney Fees Cover?
A personal injury attorney’s fees differ from the costs of your case. As mentioned, the percentage designated for attorney’s fees technically covers the lawyer’s personal fees for the time and effort invested in the case. However, personal injury claims can involve additional expenses, such as day-to-day office transactions, expert testimonies, court document preparation, etc.
These costs and expenses can accumulate over time, and depending on the specific language used in the agreement, you may be responsible for covering these expenses irrespective of the case’s outcome or the amount paid as attorney’s fees.
It is essential to thoroughly review the contingency fee agreement with your Florida personal injury attorney to avoid any unexpected surprises in the future. Clarify whether you will be liable for any costs and expenses if your case is unsuccessful.
Is There a Limit to the Percentage a Florida Injury Lawyer Can Charge?
States have the authority to regulate and limit the contingency fees that attorneys can charge. For instance, in Florida, the Florida Bar considers contingency fees exceeding 33 1/3 percent for settlements and 40 percent for cases that go to trial as excessive unless approved by a court.
Furthermore, when filing a claim against a federal agency under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), there are federal regulations that limit contingency fees. For instance, in FTCA cases, lawyers are generally restricted from charging more than 20 percent of the compensation if the case settles out of court or a maximum of 25 percent if the case proceeds to trial.
What If My Lawyer Wants to Discuss a Different Payment Arrangement?
Contingency fee arrangements are ideal for lawyers and injured accident victims. However, sometimes the standard fee arrangement doesn’t benefit the lawyer, and they may ask for a different fee structure. While this might seem like a red flag, it isn’t always.
For example, In Florida, medical malpractice cases are capped at 20 percent fees for settlements and awards under $250,000 and 10 percent for anything over $250,000. Due to the low fees associated with these complex and highly expensive cases, most medical malpractice attorneys will ask clients to waive their rights to this structure. With court approval, they’ll contract at the standard rates of other injury cases.
If you are unsure if your lawyer’s fee structure is competitive, interview other personal injury attorneys to get a feel for what other attorneys in your area charge.
Contact Our Florida Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or someone you love suffered an injury in an accident in Florida, you need a personal injury lawyer to fight for you. Insurance companies don’t play fair, and you need an attorney to level the playing field with these large insurance giants. At Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys, PA, our Florida personal injury lawyers aren’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with insurers to help our clients get the compensation they deserve.
To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your potential case details, contact Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA at (305) 694-2676. Our firm can also be reached online.