I’m often asked by my new clients how are they going to pay for my services to represent them in their personal injury claim. I can tell you that attorneys throughout Tampa and Florida represent clients involved in personal injury actions on what’s called a contingent fee basis.
What that means is that our attorney’s fees are contingent upon reaching a settlement or a verdict in your favor. You don’t pay me by the hour; it’s unlike a family law case or criminal defense case where the attorney is asking for a retainer fee of five thousand or ten thousand dollars and then billing by the hour. We don’t do that, and the beauty of that is the system of a contingent fee agreement allows the client who doesn’t have that retainer fee, who hasn’t been planning for any type of accident or crash, it allows that client to go out and hire the best attorney possible to represent them on their case without any upfront money by the client.
So, the way the contingent fee works is that we get paid out of the settlement only, whether it’s by settlement before a lawsuit is filed, a settlement after a lawsuit is filed, or by trial.
Those fees are set forth by the Florida Bar. The Florida Bar is the organization in Florida that governs all the conduct of the attorneys and the Florida Bar sets forth the fee at one-third of the recovery.
One other thing that you need to know is that if there is no recovery by chance, and I can’t remember when that would happen, but if there is no recovery, there are no attorneys fees. We’re also expending a lot of costs on behalf of our clients as the case progresses. In the beginning, most of those costs are costs for obtaining medical records, crash reports, and things like that.
Typically, if we can settle a case within the first six months, the fees, I mean, costs are going to be probably somewhere around 100 to 150 dollars in the typical case. The one thing you need to know is that if there is no recovery, you do not have to pay us back any of the costs that we’ve advanced on your behalf.
So, the contingent fee agreement in a personal injury case allows you to go out and hire the best attorney possible to represent you in the case without any upfront money. The only time you’re going to end up paying the attorney is if the attorney makes a settlement for you or goes to trial and gets a favorable verdict.