Attorneys have the option to use three primary fee arrangements: hourly rate, fixed fee, and contingency fee. The first two fee arrangements require the client to pay money to the attorney either up front (fixed fee) or on an ongoing basis (hourly rate).
Most personal injury attorneys, however, including the Personal Injury & Accident Law Center, exclusively bill on a contingency fee basis. Basically, this means that our clients are not charged attorneys’ fees unless they recover money—either from a settlement, judgment, or jury verdict. The contingency fee arrangement benefits injured clients by removing the financial barrier to bringing a personal injury lawsuit, which could disincentivize some seriously injured parties from seeking the legal help and monetary recovery they deserve.
Contingency Fee Amounts
The Florida Bar Rules of Professional Conduct has policies limiting the size and scope of contingency fees. That being said, the contingency fees charged by most personal injury lawyers are:
- 33.3% for cases that settle before a lawsuit is filed
- 40% for cases after a lawsuit is filed.
Because attorneys’ fees are contingent on your recovery, your personal injury lawyer has a tremendous incentive to work hard on your case and obtain a favorable settlement or jury verdict. Costs may still be owed, however, which could include filing fees, court costs, and administrative expenses that were incurred.
If 30–40% seems high, remember that you will not be involved in the majority of the work required to investigate, prepare, negotiate, and manage your case. According to a 2013 study by the Court Statistics Project, attorneys devoted 196 hours to an average car accident case and 472 hours to an average professional malpractice case. (If lawyers were to charge an hourly billing rate, let’s say $300, that 196 hours would cost a client $58,000!)
This is why we offer free case evaluations to potential clients. It’s essential that we review the general aspects of your case and discuss your legal options up front.