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How Do Attorney’s Fees Work in a Car Accident Case?
No matter where you live, it’s likely you have seen television commercials or driven past billboards with smiling or scowling car accident lawyers promising that “If we don’t recover money for you, you pay nothing in attorney’s fees,” or “If we don’t get you compensation for your losses, our services are free.”
Our Tampa car accident lawyer works under such an arrangement, known as a contingency fee. While most other lawyers like divorce attorneys and criminal defense lawyers charge their clients a fee regardless of the outcome of their case, whether a personal injury attorney gets paid is entirely contingent on whether they are successful at recovering money for their clients through settlement or after a trial.
Your Tampa Car Accident Lawyer Has Skin in The Game
Car accident lawsuits cost money, not just in the cost of the attorney’s time, but also in hard costs like expert witness fees, filing fees, and other expenses. When you hire a personal injury lawyer to pursue compensation on your behalf, your lawyer is bearing the risks and costs involved in representing you. In every case, there is a chance that the lawyer will work hundreds of hours and spend thousands of dollars without ever seeing a dime for all of those efforts.
If, however, your lawyer is indeed successful in getting you compensation, you still won’t have to pay their fees and costs out of your own pocket. Rather, their agreed-upon fee and hard costs will be deducted from the amount recovered from the defendant or their insurance company. The amount of fees your attorney will take from those proceeds will be based on a percentage that was set forth in the written contingent fee agreement you will sign when you first retain the lawyer.
Contingent Fee Agreements
Almost all states, including Florida, have rules which govern contingent fee agreements. For example, Florida Bar rules state that “A contingent fee agreement shall be in writing and shall state the method by which the fee is to be determined, including the percentage or percentages that shall accrue to the lawyer in the event of settlement, trial, or appeal, litigation and other expenses to be deducted from the recovery, and whether such expenses are to be deducted before or after the contingent fee is calculated.”
Additionally, Florida rules place presumptive limits on the percentage an attorney can charge in a contingent fee agreement depending on how and when the case is resolved and how much is recovered in damages. None of these percentages should exceed 40% of the amounts recovered but contingent fees are more often closer to 33 1/3%.
The reason that almost all personal injury lawyers work on a contingent fee basis is because most injury victims, already struggling with lost wages, mounting medical bills and the other challenges that follow a serious accident, would not be able to afford to hire an attorney if they had to write a check for attorney’s fees. With a contingent fee, injury victims have access to the high-quality legal representation that can help them get the compensation they need without getting in further financial trouble.
At Alley, Clark & Greiwe, our Tampa car accident lawyers have seen the struggles and challenges faced by individuals who have been injured or families who have lost a loved one in a car accident. That is why our experienced and dedicated car accident attorneys work tirelessly to get compensation and justice for those who have suffered because of others’ negligence on the road.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, please call one of our Tampa car wreck lawyers today at (800) 840-0977 or contact us online to arrange for your free initial consultation and case evaluation.