Injured in a car accident? Looking for a personal injury attorney? Are you worried about being able to afford a highly skilled and experienced attorney who will aggressively fight the insurance companies for you? Thanks to the contingency fee agreement that exists between Florida personal injury attorneys and clients injured in auto accidents, you need not worry! This blog will briefly address the contingency fee agreement.
What is a Contingency Fee Agreement?
A contingency fee agreement is a written contract between you and a law firm, and like all contracts, it involves “promises.” The law firm promises to aggressively represent your interests and recover proper compensation for the you, the injured client. The law firm also typically promises to advance all costs involved in the case until settlement. Your attorney in the law firm will not expect you to pay any money up front to him or her until (and unless) a settlement or favorable verdict is obtained. You, the client, promise to pay the attorney an agreed upon percentage of funds collected on your behalf, and reimburse him or her for the money advanced (but not unless funds are collected).
Why Does the Contingency Fee Benefit the Injured?
The contingency fee agreement is unique in professional services. Imagine if you went to a highly skilled and reputable cosmetic dentist, and needed $12,000 of work. Further, imagine that this dentist expected no money up front, promised to advance all costs for your work (e.g., lab fees for crowns, etc.), and asked you to only pay fees and costs if the dental work came out to your satisfaction! In essence, a contingency fee agreement in a personal injury automobile accident case is similar, except in the context of legal services. An injured victim can hire a highly experienced injury attorney, pay nothing up front, and only pay the attorney in the event of a successful outcome.
How Much Does the Attorney Receive?
In the event of a successful outcome in the auto accident injury claim, the attorney (law firm) is only entitled to a “reasonable fee.” Attorneys in New Port Richey and throughout Florida are governed by the Florida Rules of Professional Conduct. Rule 4-1 addresses contingency fees and costs, and establishes a typical contingency fee of one-third (1/3) of the settlement proceeds if a settlement is achieved without the need for a lawsuit, and up to forty percent of proceeds if a lawsuit is required. The fee is negotiable, and I always encourage clients to voice any questions.
While these fee percentages may seem high, please keep in mind that an attorney and law firm take considerable risk in many personal injury claims. Unlike a divorce attorney whom is paid by the hour, an auto accident injury attorney will never collect fees unless a successful result is obtained. Some cases can take well over a year, and if a settlement or verdict is not obtained for the client, the attorney will be paid nothing for his or her services.
The contingency fee agreement enables anyone injured in an automobile accident due to another’s negligence to obtain attorney representation. Even the impoverished can hire a highly skilled attorney to represent him or her, and collect compensation for losses incurred.
Scott M. McPherson, P.A. represents those injured in New Port Richey and throughout the Tampa Bay area on a contingency fees basis. Initial consultations are always free, and no fee or costs will even be due unless compensation is collected for the client!
By: Scott McPherson