Most Florida personal injury lawyers take cases on contingency, meaning their fee is a percentage of your settlement or verdict. You do not pay upfront or out of pocket for their services. If they do not obtain compensation for you, they do not get paid, though you may still have other costs and legal expenses.
According to Forbes Advisor, the typical attorney fee percentage is usually between 25 to 40 percent of your financial award. Read on to learn more about legal fees and how lawyers charge clients.
How Do Attorneys Determine Their Fee Percentage?
According to American Bar Association (ABA) Rule 1.5, it is against a lawyer’s code of conduct to charge or collect unreasonable fees or expenses. The rule states that attorneys should consider the following when establishing their fees:
- The difficulty of the legal issue in question and the skills, labor, and time required to resolve it
- Whether or not accepting a case will prevent the lawyer from working with other clients
- What the customary fees are for similar legal services in the area
- The amount of money involved in the case and the results obtained
- Time limits imposed by the client or the circumstances
- The nature and length of the attorney/client relationship
- The lawyer’s experience, reputation, and ability
The rule says that attorneys must communicate their fees to clients (preferably in writing). In addition, lawyers may not charge contingency fees for representation in criminal cases or make fees dependent on securing a divorce or the amount of alimony or support awarded.
Factors That May Affect Your Attorney Fees
Several factors may influence the typical attorney fee percentage for your case, including the following:
- Location. As with most expenses, the cost of a lawyer fluctuates based on where you live. Law offices in more affluent neighborhoods with higher living costs will likely charge more than lawyers in less well-to-do areas. Attorneys and law firms in large cities often charge more than lawyers in rural communities.
- The amount of compensation on the table. The value of your potential settlement or verdict can affect how much your lawyer charges. For example, if you have $1 million in damages, your lawyer could make hundreds of thousands with a 25 percent contingency fee. However, if your case is worth less than $100,000, they would make much less at that rate and may charge a higher percentage.
- The complexity of your legal issue. Generally, the more complex your legal issue, the higher your lawyer’s attorney fee percentage will be. The higher fee reflects the time and effort they will need to put into investigating and building your case.
- Your lawyer’s experience. Attorneys with more experience, education, specializations, and case wins usually charge more than those with fewer credentials.
- Whether your case goes to trial. Some lawyers will charge a lower percentage for cases that settle outside of court than those requiring a lawsuit or trial.
Another factor to consider when determining the cost of legal representation is how the law firm handles payment for other costs and legal expenses, such as court filing fees, payment for expert witnesses, and the cost of obtaining documents and records. Some attorneys cover these costs, some split them with clients, and some require that the client pay even if they lose the case and do not obtain compensation.
Are Attorney Fees Always Based on a Percentage?
Though contingency fees are common among personal injury attorneys, they are not the only way lawyers can charge. Other common payment structures include the following:
- Retainer fees. Some lawyers ask for a fee upfront to retain their services. Usually, the retainer will go toward your legal costs until spent.
- Hourly fees. Some attorneys bill based on an hourly rate. The more experienced the lawyer, the higher their fee.
- Flat fee. A lawyer may assess a flat fee when you need help with a straightforward legal matter, like drafting a will or filing an uncontested divorce.
Before hiring any lawyer or law firm, ensure you understand how they charge and what your payment covers.
What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do In Exchange for their Attorney Fee?
Personal injury lawyers help recover financial awards for victims harmed by negligence or wrongdoing. Their job is to recover the maximum compensation possible and to take the legal burden off their client’s shoulders. In general, our legal team can:
- Investigate the cause of your personal injury
- Collect evidence
- Establish that a negligent party is liable for your losses
- Aggressively pursue awards for your medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, personal property damages, pain and suffering, and more
- Manage case paperwork, deadlines, and red tape
- Communicate and negotiate on your behalf
- Protect your rights and best interests
- Answer your questions, address your concerns, and provide frequent case updates
- Represent you at trial if necessary
What Types of Cases Do Personal Injury Attorneys Handle?
Personal injury lawyers handle many types of accidents and injuries. Our law firm assists clients with the following:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Boat accidents
- Construction accidents
- Dog bite injuries
- Slip and falls
- Product liability injuries
- Wrongful death
Things You Should Consider In Addition to Attorney Fees
While the cost of a lawyer is important, fees are only one of the things you should consider when choosing a lawyer. You want to know your case is in good hands. It may help to ask the following when selecting legal representation:
- Does the attorney have experience with your specific legal issue? If you suffered a personal injury, you want an injury attorney, not a lawyer specializing in family law or environmental law.
- Does the lawyer make you feel comfortable? You need to be able to communicate openly and honestly with your attorney. Therefore, you need someone you feel comfortable working with. Your lawyer should also be professional, trustworthy, and organized, and treat you respectfully and compassionately.
- Are you confident in their abilities? You should feel confident in your attorney and their ability to handle your claim or lawsuit. Ask about client reviews and case results, and do not hire anyone who does not believe they can win.
Contact Ged Lawyers for a Free Consultation
Ged Lawyers’ personal injury lawyers in Boca Raton work on contingency. We can put our firm’s 25-plus of legal experience behind your case for nothing upfront or out of pocket. Contact us for a free consultation. We serve clients in Florida and Massachusetts. Connect with a lawyer near you today.