How Much Does a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?
Paul Brannon | March 21, 2022 | Personal Injury
Injury lawyers in Florida, like all private lawyers, charge fees for their legal services. But injury lawyers typically use a different fee structure because of the unique challenges faced by victims after suffering injuries due to car accidents or other acts of negligence.
Instead of charging an hourly or flat fee, accident attorneys usually charge a contingency fee. This fee has significant benefits for injured clients, allowing them to hire high-quality legal representation for no upfront cost.
How Lawyers in Florida Charge for the Legal Services They Provide
How much do injury lawyers charge? The fees a lawyer charges usually depend on the nature of the lawyer’s work. For example, an estate attorney might charge a flat fee to draw up a will and an hourly fee to represent an executor in probate court.
The three main types of legal fees are outlined below.
Lawyers charge a flat fee for a fixed amount of work. Some examples of projects that take a predictable amount of time and effort to complete include:
When a lawyer charges a flat fee, you pay for the work the lawyer puts into the project.
Lawyers bill clients hourly for open-ended projects. In these projects, the lawyer cannot predict how much time and effort the job will require. For instance, a lawsuit could settle after a few hours of negotiation, or it may require hundreds of hours of time to prepare for trial.
When a lawyer charges an hourly fee, you pay for the amount of time the lawyer spends on your project.
Lawyers that use contingency fees don’t charge up front or bill hourly. Instead, they agree to take a percentage of the final amount recovered in the case.
Contingency fee lawyers take into account their clients’ circumstances. Knowing that their clients might not have the means to pay a flat or hourly fee, these lawyers offer to wait until the case ends to get paid.
When a lawyer charges a contingency fee, you pay for the results obtained by the lawyer.
Benefits of a Contingency Fee in a Personal Injury Case
A lawyer will quote a contingency fee as a percentage. This percentage can vary depending on:
- Years of experience
- Amount and complexity of the work involved
The amount of the fee gets calculated when the case ends. The lawyer multiplies the percentage by the amount recovered to calculate the fee.
The structure of contingency fees provides several benefits to accident victims:
No Upfront Expenses
Since the lawyer cannot calculate the contingency fee until the case ends, you do not pay upfront fees. Instead, you sign a fee agreement that sets out the attorney’s percentage and the terms of the representation. After you sign the fee agreement, the lawyer can immediately begin working on your case.
No Fees for a Losing Outcome
If the lawyer fails to recover any compensation for you, the lawyer receives no fee.
The Personal Injury Attorney Shares the Risks and Rewards
Lawyers only offer to work on contingency when they believe in a case. A lawyer will typically not take a case that will require work but result in no fees. Thus, lawyers carefully screen contingency fee cases. They want to know that they will receive payment for their time and effort.
This has a few implications for you. First, when a lawyer offers to take your case on contingency, you have an early indication that the lawyer thinks you have a winning argument for compensation.
Second, the lawyer has a financial incentive to maximize your compensation. The lawyer will work hard to get you the best deal possible because that also means the lawyer maximizes the fees they receive.
Finally, when a lawyer quotes a contingency fee, you have some idea of what you will pay in legal fees. If you hire an hourly fee lawyer, you may end up paying more in legal fees than what you win in compensation. But in a contingency fee case, you know your fees will only take up a fixed percentage of your recovery.
What a Contingency Fee Covers
Contingency fees generally cover all aspects of your representation up through trial. However, be aware that a lawyer might charge different rates depending on the status of the case when you win or settle it. They might charge 33% if the case settles before filing a lawsuit and a larger percentage if the case settles after filing a lawsuit.
In a typical case, contingency fees cover:
- Preparing and filing the insurance claim
- Acquiring and reviewing medical records
- Collecting evidence from the at-fault party
- Negotiating with the insurer to reach a settlement
- Communicating via meetings, phone calls, and emails
- Drafting and filing a lawsuit if the insurer does not agree to settle
- Arguing pre-trial motions
- Presenting evidence and arguments at trial
The contingency fee agreement should outline exactly what the fee will cover. Make sure that you review your agreement in detail.
What a Contingency Fee Might Not Cover
A contingency fee does not cover every cost you might incur during your case. Most notably, contingency fees do not cover the costs of litigation.
During your case, you may run across certain costs that must get paid. Your lawyer will often pay these expenses to keep the case on track. But when the case ends, you must reimburse your lawyer for costs that include:
- Lawsuit filing fees
- Expert witness fees
- Deposition costs like court reporter fees
- Medical records fees charged by healthcare providers
Again, you should review your contingency fee agreement to learn how you approve these fees and when you must pay them.
How to Hire a Contingency Fee Personal Injury Lawyer in Florida
Under Florida’s Rules Regulating the Florida Bar, contingency fee lawyers must provide a written fee agreement to clients. When you meet with a personal injury lawyer, ask for a copy of the lawyer’s fee agreement. You can review the agreement so you know exactly how much the injury lawyer cost. If you have any questions, talk to the lawyer before you hire them for your case.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Northwest Florida
We have two convenient locations in Northwest Florida:
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Fort Walton Beach Office
975 Mar Walt Dr
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Destin Office
4507 Furling Ln Suite 214
Destin, FL 32541