14 Feb Attorney’s Fees in a Personal Injury Claim: Is It Worth It To Hire Counsel?
After getting into a car accident, many individuals think to themselves, “How much is this going to cost me now?” That thought often comes to mind again when they considering hiring a personal injury attorney to pursue the compensation that they deserve. I cannot speak for all personal injury attorneys, but I can give you a baseline as to what is typically customary among Florida personal injury attorneys. It is up to you to investigate further to make sure you are making the best decision for you and your family.
Most Florida personal injury attorneys offer what is called a “free consultation”. During the free consultation, an attorney and/or staff member will review your personal injury claim with you at no cost. These consultations typically last about an hour. The attorney will ask you to bring in any documentation that you may have and will give you an idea of what your rights may be. They may need more time to review the evidence if it is extensive or to do additional research. Typically, there is no charge for this additional review and research.
To make the best use of your consultation, it is important to gather as much documentation as possible before attending. I personally meet with each and every one of my clients to review their claim with them at no cost. It is important to me that every client has a full understanding of their rights and their questions can be answered from the start.
Do I Have to Pay Attorney’s Fee Upfront?
Most think that hiring an attorney involves a big retainer or monies to be paid up front followed by costly invoices that are to be paid every month. That is typically not the case when hiring a personal injury attorney. Most attorney’s charge what is called a contingency fee which means that they are paid a percentage of the monies recovered after the case is resolved. There is no monthly invoices nor is their any upfront retainer. The fees are collected from the settlement proceeds. This percentage typically ranges between 33% and 40%. There are expectations as to the percentage that can be charged such as for sovereign immunity cases. It is best to go over these fees with the attorney during the consultation and especially before entering into an agreement.
Although this may seem like a high percentage, the Insurance Research Council noted in an article entitled “Auto Injuries: Claiming Behavior and Its Impact on Insurance Costs,” that 85% of insurance claims involving a recovery for bodily injuries went to a client represented by a personal injury attorney. Moreover, a separate study by the IRC from 2004 found that an individual represented by an attorney received almost three-and-a-half times more. This was even after attorney’s fees were paid.
Get Your Attorney’s Fees Agreement in Writing
It is important to get a copy of the written agreement about what attorney’s fees you are responsible for. That protects both you and the attorney, so everyone involved has a clear understanding of expectations. Moreover, in accordance to Florida Bar rules, if it is a contingent fee contract, it must be in writing.
Can I Cancel the Agreement?
In accordance to Florida Bar Rules, you have three business days to reconsider the contingent fee contract, however you must do so in writing. If you cancel the contract within three business days, you will not be responsible for any attorney’s fee. If the three business days lapse, you will be responsible to pay a fee for the work the attorney has done.
Make The Right Choice For You!
If you have any questions about your personal injury claim or attorney’s fees, I am here for you. I understand that the process after an incident can be difficult and stressful. You probably have a lot of questions and very few answers. Allow me to be there for you every step of the way. I offer a FREE no-obligation consultation and will review your claim with you personally at one of the office locations in Tampa, Zephyrhills, or Saint Petersburg. Cannot make it to me? I will come to wherever is convenient to you at NO charge. You deserve to be compensated and I want to get justice for you!