What Percentage Do Lawyers Take for a Personal Injury Case
Paul Brannon | March 22, 2023 | Uncategorized
Most personal injury lawyers accept cases for a contingency fee. According to the American Bar Association (ABA), contingent fees are generally about one-third of the total recovery in a case. However, the percentage an attorney and client might agree upon for a personal injury contingency fee might differ based on various factors, including the complexity of the case.
How Do Contingency Fees Work in Personal Injury Cases?
Using a contingency fee for a personal injury case means you do not have any out-of-pocket legal fees for hiring an attorney to begin your case. Instead of paying a retainer fee when you hire a Fort Walton Beach personal injury law firm, you agree to pay the law firm a percentage of the amount the lawyer recovers for your injury claim. If your attorney does not win your case, you do not owe any attorney’s fees.
You and the lawyer agree to the contingency fee arrangement before starting work on your case. The contingent fee agreement is part of your retainer agreement. Therefore, you’ll know the exact percentage of your personal injury settlement or jury verdict your lawyer will receive for legal services.
Advantages of Using a Contingency Fee Agreement for Florida Personal Injury Cases
An advantage of a contingency fee is that the attorney is as invested in winning your case as you. The attorney does not get paid for their legal services until and unless they win your case.
Additionally, contingency fees allow an injured victim to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer, regardless of the person’s financial condition. Many personal injury victims are out of work during their recovery.
Depending on the severity of their injuries, they could be without income for months. Struggling to get by while recovering from their injuries can make it difficult or impossible to pay a fee to hire a Fort Walton Beach personal injury attorney.
The contingency fee removes that barrier to allow them to have the legal representation they need to protect their legal rights and interests.
What Are the Rules in Florida for Personal Injury Contingency Fees?
Rule 1.5 of the ABA’s Rules of Professional Conduct prohibits lawyers from collecting unreasonable amounts as attorney’s fees. When determining whether a fee is reasonable, several factors are considered, including:
- The type of case, including the complexity of the case
- The parties involved in the case
- The length and nature of the attorney-client relationship
- The skills and time necessary to perform the legal services required to handle the case
- The attorney’s education, abilities, skills, experience, and reputation
- The average fees attorneys of similar experience charge in the area
- Whether the case settles or goes to trial
Florida’s Rules of Professional Conduct also address contingency fee agreements between attorneys and clients in the state. The requirements for contingency fee agreements in Florida include:
- The agreement for a contingent fee must be in writing
- The client must reach and acknowledge the Client’s Rights agreement
- The contingency fee must explain that the client will not owe fees for legal services if the client cancels the contingency agreement within three days of signing
- The agreement must state the exact percentages charged by the attorney at various stages of the case
- The percentage the attorney accepts is subject to negotiation between the client and the lawyer
In addition to the above rules, Florida limits the percentage charged for contingency fees in personal injury cases. The percentage is based on how the case is resolved and the amount of the recovery.
Typically, the maximum contingency fee for a personal injury case in Florida is:
- 33 1/3% of the first $1 million
- 30% of the next $1 million
- 20% of the amount recovered over $2 million
Most contingency fee agreements increase the percentage if the case must be litigated. The reasoning is that the attorney must spend significantly more time filing a lawsuit and taking a case to trial than negotiating a settlement.
Also, The Florida Constitution sets maximum percentages for medical malpractice cases that differ from contingency fees in other personal injury cases.
If you have questions about contingency fees and the percentage lawyers take for a personal injury case, schedule a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your case.