How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer in Florida Make?
Paul Brannon | December 22, 2022 | Personal Injury
The income of personal injury lawyers in Florida varies dramatically based on several different factors. Instead of providing a number, it is best to describe the factors that go into determining how much they make. This includes how much they earn and how much they spend pursuing claims.
The Contingency Fee System
The lawyer will take a pre-agreed percentage of your awarded compensation for attorney’s fees. Typically, the percentage ranges from 30% to 40%.
They might include:
- Investigation and research expenses
- Expert witness fees
- Travel expenses
- Court fees, if you file a lawsuit
- Fees for the issuance of medical records and police reports
- Other expenses related to your case
Most personal injury lawyers will pay these fees upfront and charge you for them only if they win your case. If they do charge you for them, they must give you a written explanation of these charges.
Legal Limits on Contingency Fees in Florida
The Florida Rules of Professional Conduct, the ethical rules that govern attorney behavior, impose the following limits on the amount of contingency fees that a lawyer can charge a personal injury client for legal representation:
- One-third of your compensation up to $1 million if you settle your case before filing a lawsuit or early in lawsuit proceedings; or
- 40 percent of your compensation up to $1 million if you win your case after a certain point in a lawsuit.
In addition, your Florida lawyer can charge 30 percent of any compensation between $1 million and $2 million, and 20 percent of any recovery above $2 million.
Your attorney can also charge an additional five percent if the defendant refuses to pay a judgment and you have to go to court to enforce it. Other restrictions apply to contingency fees under various unusual circumstances.
Losing Florida Personal Injury Cases
For the average personal injury attorney, working for free happens far less than 10% of the time. Lawyers carefully select their cases based on their strength so that they rarely pursue weak claims.
This explains why a Florida personal injury lawyer will not take your case unless they believe they can win it. After all, why should they take on a losing case if they’re likely to end up working for free? The upside is if they do take your case, you can be sure they believe in it.
Florida Personal Injury Lawyers as Employees: How Much Do They Make?
Personal injury law firms often hire new attorneys in the early stages of their career as associates or employees of the law firm. These associates do not share in the contingency fee system. Instead, they are paid a set annual salary. These salaries vary widely from firm to firm and from lawyer to lawyer.
According to ZipRecruiter, in 2023, the average Florida personal injury associate made about $70,000 per year. This figure is questionable, however, because many firms do not disclose the salaries of their associate lawyers. Nevertheless, some firms do advertise starting salaries as recruitment tools.
Although ZipRecruiter may have questioned associate attorneys and received accurate information in response, it is also possible that they lacked access to sufficient data to generate a representative sample of salary numbers.
This skepticism is reinforced by the fact that another online tool, salary.com, reports an average starting salary of $82,261. In any case, in practice, a reported average salary is nearly meaningless.
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