Contigency Fees

Contingency Fees in Personal Injury Cases

In most cases, you will not be charged an hourly fee for legal services in your personal  injury case. Hourly fees usually are assessed in criminal cases or divorce cases. Instead,  an attorney will charge you a percentage of the settlement or judgment attained in your  case. Essentially, this is called a contingency fee. It is called a contingency fee because  it is contingent on the outcome of your personal injury case. Depending on where you  live, you may find that there are sometimes various fees charged by different lawyers. However, the most common contingency fee is the traditional one-third contingency fee.  In that arrangement, the lawyer’s fee is one third of the settlement or verdict. Some  lawyers may charge lower contingency fees. This may sound enticing but it is important  to keep in mind that a lower fee may mean a less experienced personal injury lawyer with  less capital to fund your case. As the adage goes, you get what you pay for. In this blog  post, we will explain how contingency fees work in personal injury cases.  

Understanding Contingency Fees  

A contingency fee agreement is one that indicates that the compensation paid to the  lawyer is contingent in whole or in part on the successful completion of the matter. Part of the rationale behind contingency fees is that it allows equal access to courts for persons  of all economic backgrounds. Moreover, most injury victims do not have enough savings  to pay a personal injury lawyer on an hourly basis throughout the entire length of their  personal injury lawsuit or claim. It is vital that you have a clear understanding of how the  fees will be calculated in your personal injury case. If you are confused or don’t  understand how the fees will be calculated and how it will affect the amount of money you  will eventually end up with, ask your attorney for clarification. Are legal fees payable only  if the case is won, or are they payable regardless of the outcome of the case? Will your  lawyer simply charge an hourly rate for his or her time and the time of others in the office  who work on the file, regardless of outcome? If so, what will those rates be? When will  you be expected to pay? Will you be asked for an initial retainer or will you be asked to  contribute to the ongoing expenses associated with your personal injury case? Contingency fee agreements must be in writing and are governed by strict rules. In  Florida, there are limits on the amount of contingency fees that can be charged. Without  prior court approval, any contingent fee that exceeds the statutory standards is presumed,  unless rebutted, to be clearly excessive. If the case is settled before the filing of an answer  or the demand for appointment of arbitrators, then the following limits apply: 

  • 33 1/3% of any recovery up to $1 million 
  • 30% of any portion of the recovery between $1 million and $2 million 20% of any portion of the recovery exceeding $2 million 

If the case is settled after the filing of an answer or the demand for appointment of  arbitrators (or if no answer is filed or no demand for appointment of arbitrators is made,  then after the expiration of the time provided for such filing or demand), then the following  schedule applies: 

  • 40% of any recovery up to $1 million 
  • 30% of any portion of the recovery between $1 million and $2 million 

Speak with Our Accident Attorney in Miami Today! 

At Suarez & Montero, our group of accident lawyers have more than 19 years of  experience helping injury victims that have sustained severe injuries in all kinds of  crashes due to the negligence or carelessness of others. Our team of automobile accident  attorneys have comprehensive experience representing clients in different kinds of  personal injury issues, including auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents,  pedestrian accidents, slip and falls, trip and falls, medical negligence, and more. If you, a  friend, or family member has been injured in any type of accident, do not hesitate to  contact the personal injury attorneys at Suarez & Montero to receive your free  consultation. We serve clients throughout Florida including those in the following areas: 

Miami-Dade: Aventura, Coral Gables, Doral, Fontainebleau, Hialeah, Homestead,  Kendall, Miami, Miami Beach, Miami Lakes, North Miami, Tamiami, and Westchester.

Broward: Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, and Weston;  and Palm Beach County including Boca Raton, Lake Worth, and West Palm Beach.