If you were involved in an accident in Florida that was not your fault, you might want to hire an experienced and affordable personal injury lawyer in West Palm Beach. However, you may also wonder whether or not you can afford to hire an attorney.

Read on to find out what you can expect to pay a personal injury lawyer that you hire to work on your case. 

CONTINGENCY FEES FOR PERSONAL INJURY CASES

Personal injury lawyers in Florida use a unique method to charge for their services. Most personal injury attorneys will charge a contingency fee for their legal services. 

In this arrangement, an attorney agrees to represent you and only gets paid once the case has been resolved in your favor. This means the attorney will only get paid if they are able to win either:

  • A settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance company, or
  • A verdict in your favor

Basically, you will only have to pay the attorney if they are able to recover compensation for your injuries. If they cannot obtain compensation for you, they will not be paid for their services.

WHAT PERCENTAGE WILL PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEYS TAKE?

Your lawyer will take a percentage of the compensation you are awarded for your injuries.

The standard contingency fee is 33 percent, or a third, of your settlement or verdict. However, the percentage may vary between 25 and 40 percent, depending on several factors, including:

  • The complexity of your case
  • Whether your case goes to court
  • The value of your case

Make sure you discuss your attorney’s contingency fee upfront so you know what to expect.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A CONTINGENCY FEE ARRANGEMENT?

There are a few reasons why a contingency fee arrangement is ideal for personal injury claims. These include:

  • The injured party may have to undergo costly medical care, leaving them unable to afford legal services. Fortunately, this arrangement ensures that victims will not have to pay for representation out of their own pockets.
  • The arrangement motivates the attorney to work hard in order to obtain as much compensation as possible. The more they win for you, the more they will be paid.
  • If you don’t win your case, you won’t be left with a huge bill for legal services.

ARE THERE OTHER LEGAL FEES OR EXPENSES?

Depending on the contract that you sign with your lawyer, you may have to pay other fees and expenses apart from the contingency percentage. 

Study your contract in detail to find out whether you’ll be responsible for paying for the costs associated with your claim. You may be responsible for paying for the cost of photocopying, hiring witnesses, filing paperwork with the court, and obtaining copies of your medical records. 

The contract may state that you are to pay these fees as they become due. In this case, you can expect to receive a bill as these expenses are incurred. 

However, some firms will cover all the fees and expenses as they arise. The firms will then add up their total costs and deduct them from your settlement or verdict. 

Your contract must also state whether the contingency fee will be calculated before or after the expenses are deducted.

For instance, let’s say your contract stated that any expenses incurred should be deducted from your final settlement. The contract also states that your attorney will take a 33% contingency fee that is calculated prior to the deduction of expenses. Your attorney wins $70,000 in compensation for your injuries and incurs $10,000 in expenses throughout your case. The $10,00o in expenses will be taken off of the top, leaving you with $60,000. Your attorney charges a 33% contingency fee, so they will receive $23,100, or 33% of $70,000, for their legal services. This means in total, you will pay the attorney $33,100 for their legal services and expenses. The remaining $36,900 will be yours. 

If the contingency fee was calculated after expenses were deducted, your attorney would receive $19,800, or 33% of $60,000. 

ARE THERE OTHER FEE ARRANGEMENTS?

Some lawyers may choose not to use a contingency fee arrangement. For example, some attorneys may require you to pay a retainer fee upfront before they start working on your case. The lawyers may later collect their contingency fee after the case is settled. 

Make sure you understand how your attorney expects to be paid for their legal services prior to hiring them.

CAN YOU NEGOTIATE CONTINGENCY FEES?

The contingency fee percentage is negotiable–just like everything else in your contract. Many injured parties usually want to get their compensation as soon as possible. As a result, they often fail to negotiate the attorney’s fees.

Don’t make this mistake. It never hurts to ask whether your attorney is willing to accept a slightly lower contingency fee for their legal services. Try to have this discussion during the initial consultation so you know you are both on the same page when it comes to payment.

Finally, always ask the attorney to outline the details of the contingency fee agreement in writing. If a lawyer isn’t willing to provide a written contract, this may be a red flag. Professional attorneys do not offer oral agreements.

WHY SHOULD YOU HIRE A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY?

If you were involved in an accident, the at-fault party’s insurance company will do its best to minimize your injuries and give you a low settlement. After all, the company isn’t in the business of giving out money. 

A personal injury attorney will help you build a strong case and ensure that you get the highest compensation possible for your injuries. The value of hiring an attorney is even higher when your injuries are serious. For such cases, your settlement should be higher, and the insurance adjuster will try all they can to reduce this settlement. 

Rather than leave your case at the mercy of the insurance adjuster, get a personal injury lawyer that has successfully handled car accident and other personal injury cases in the past. Working with an attorney will increase your chances of securing the compensation you are entitled to by law.