If you’re an accident victim who suffered injuries because of someone else’s negligence, you may want to obtain compensation from the at-fault party. You should also know that having an attorney help you throughout the process greatly increases your chances of getting a positive outcome. However, you may have questions about how lawyers get paid, even if they lose your case or don’t recover compensation for you.
In fact, you may hesitate to seek a lawyer’s help because you are unsure of how much it will cost and whether you will have to pay the attorney if you don’t get compensation.
Many accident victims imagine there are significant risks to hiring an attorney, such as upfront costs and bills that could follow them if they lose their case. But personal injury lawyers only get paid if they help you to recover compensation. If they cannot do that for you, they don’t get paid.
Different Types of Lawyers Have Different Billing Approaches
Different types of lawyers handle different practice areas to assist people through many problems and legal issues that will arise in their life. From criminal actions and property disputes to contracts, business dealings, and accidents, the list goes on and on. Legal billing can vary depending on the type of case and the preferences of the attorney you are working with. It can be confusing to understand what your lawyer is billing you and ultimately, how much you will pay for the services they provide.
Fortunately, the details of your billing and costs should be part of a thorough fee agreement that you will review and agree upon at your initial consultation with the attorney. With this agreement, you can better understand the fees of your representation and the price range the lawyer’s service will end up costing you.
When it comes to personal injury cases, the earnings of a lawyer depend on the outcome of your case. In these cases, a lawyer will often work in a contingency fee arrangement. Your lawyer’s compensation will tie directly into the amount of compensation you receive in the final outcome of your case.
Most Personal Injury Lawyers Work on A Contingency Fee
Most personal injury lawyers represent clients on a contingency fee. They will only receive compensation services if and when you receive compensation for your case. If you encounter a personal injury lawyer that does not bill their clients on a contingency basis, you should often be skeptical and consider interviewing other attorneys for your case.
There is often a risk in personal injury cases that you may not recover damages for your losses. Agreeing to representation by an attorney that requires you to make payments and cover costs upfront can leave you in debt if you do not reach a positive resolution in your case. Fortunately, this type of fee agreement in personal injury law is rare, but you should remain aware and ensure you retain an attorney that will receive compensation only from the proceeds of a settlement or award in your case.
What Is a Contingency Fee in a Personal Injury Case?
Contingency fees are a set percentage of the proceeds in your case that will be set aside for the compensation of your attorney for their work in your case. The percentage amount can vary widely depending on your attorney and the stage at which your case reaches a resolution.
The percentage of compensation for your lawyer can change when your case becomes more complex. For example, if your case reaches a settlement through negotiations and no trial and court proceedings are necessary, the percentage of the fee will be lower than if your case must go through a trial. Furthermore, the amount of your total compensation can also affect how much your attorney gets paid. Oftentimes, there is a threshold that once a settlement or verdict passes a certain monetary amount, the percentage of compensation for your attorney may change.
How Do You Know How Much a Lawyer Will Charge You If They Get Compensation for You?
The percentage of your settlement or award that you will use to pay your attorney must be in your contingency fee agreement. When you hire an attorney, you will sign the paperwork as to the specifics of them representing you and the amount of money you will pay for their services. Take the time to go over your agreements thoroughly and carefully with your attorney. This is the best time to raise any questions or concerns you may have that relate to fees before you complete and sign the agreement.
Be sure you are aware of how much of your settlement or award will go to the lawyer so you are not caught off guard once your case reaches a resolution. Once you know the percentage of fees allotted to your legal services, you can plan better and make prudent decisions regarding negotiations and other important aspects of your case as they come up.
Is There a Limit to the Contingency Fee of an Attorney in a Personal Injury Case?
Contingency fees will differ from attorney to attorney, but there are caps on how much an attorney can charge you. Each state can set specific limitations for compensation a lawyer can charge on a contingency basis. In Florida, the limitations on contingency fee percentages that an attorney may charge a client are set by The Florida Bar. The percentage of fees a lawyer can charge you will depend on various factors. Limitations on contingency fee arrangements ensure a personal injury lawyer does not take advantage of a client and charges beyond a fair and reasonable amount for their services.
Personal Injury Lawyers Only Receive Payment for Their Attorney’s Fees if You Win
The downside for attorneys in a contingency fee arrangement is that they will not receive compensation for their services if don’t win your case or recover compensation for you. In this situation, you have little risk other than the loss of your potential compensation, but an attorney will lose the time, effort, and resources put into the case. On average, most cases take significant hours to prepare for claims and negotiate settlements. Cases that must proceed to trial take much more time and are much more complex. Trial cases take up many more resources and costs for the attorney.
Your Lawyer Wants to Help You Win Your Case
Attorneys do not want to work for free, but they understand that contingency fee agreements are appropriate in personal injury matters. Personal injury victims often face uncertainty, and many would not go forward with their cases for fear of the financial consequences and impacts if their case did not win. Many personal injury cases settle outside of court. As a result, attorneys will eventually receive compensation for their services in most cases.
If an attorney agrees to represent you and take on your case, you can expect they will work hard to get you the best possible resolution. After all, your case’s success ties directly to your attorney’s success and the earnings they receive for their work.
How Can a Lawyer Increase the Likelihood Of Success in Your Case?
Attorneys use their knowledge, resources, and experience to represent their clients in a personal injury claim or lawsuit. There are certain steps a lawyer will take to increase the chance of a successful resolution in a case.
They Will Evaluate Your Case
The first step a lawyer will take is to evaluate the facts and circumstances in your case. A lawyer is not under any obligation to take every case, and they will take the time to understand the events leading up to your injuries as well as the likelihood of success in your case. Oftentimes, during an initial consultation, an attorney or their team will talk with you about the case and your expectations. During this time, they will also discuss their perspective on the case and whether they believe you have a chance at recovery. They will also determine whether they will accept you as a client and represent you.
They Will Use Their Resources to Gather Evidence and Discover Who Is at Fault
An attorney and their team have strategies and resources to help you gather the best information and evidence to prepare and support your case. With an attorney representing you, you can rest easy knowing they will use the resources at their disposal to not only gather the best evidence to support your claims but will also look carefully at your accident and the cause of your injuries. This will help your lawyers discover all potential liability in your case and bring forth a claim or legal action against all parties that may be potentially legally responsible for the injuries and damages you sustain.
They Will Help You Calculate Your Legal Damages Accurately
Once a personal injury lawyer has a better understanding of who may be liable to you for your injuries, they will begin to work on maximizing the damages in your case. The reality is that insurance companies and at-fault parties that are responsible for your injuries often want to get away with paying out as little money as possible to you. If they can find a loophole to deny your claim, they will–if they can find a reason to reduce the compensation available to you, they will.
A lawyer will help to protect your rights and gather the evidence necessary to support your claims for damages. An injury after an accident can have many obvious impacts, but many other issues and challenges can arise from an accident that will cause you losses. Your lawyer will work alongside you to understand all the impacts of the accident on your life, which will not only involve your physical injuries but the effects of those injuries on your ability to work, function normally, and enjoy your life.
The calculation of damages helps you and your lawyers understand the value of your claim or lawsuit. This important step will guide you in your decision-making regarding negotiations of settlement and when it may become necessary to proceed to a trial.
A Personal Injury Attorney Will Fight for The Compensation You Deserve in a Negotiation or Lawsuit
Your personal injury lawyer will help you negotiate the best possible settlement with the insurance companies or other parties in your case. Your attorney will serve as an intermediary in your case. They will receive all offers of settlement and share those offers with you.
Your attorney will then share their perspective and provide you with advice on the matter to help you decide. If you should accept a settlement offer, your lawyer will inform the other party of your decision in a timely manner. If, however, you determine that an offer is too low or unreasonable, your lawyer will negotiate with the other parties to increase the amount of compensation for you.
However, your attorney may not be able to settle your dispute. If this should occur in your case, your lawyer will discuss the options available to you, which may include the need to file a lawsuit in court and/or proceed with a trial to fight for the compensation you deserve.
When Should You Contact a Lawyer If You Suffer an Injury in an Accident
If someone else hurt you through their negligence, carelessness, or wrongdoing, you may be eligible for compensation under Florida’s personal injury law. Attempts to resolve your case on your own can result in unnecessary complications such as delays or loss of potential compensation from the parties responsible.
You should consider your options for legal representation as soon as possible after an accident. The earlier you seek legal representation in your case, the better the chances of recovery of your losses and damages.
A personal injury lawyer can work with you to make sure you stay within the statute of limitations that apply to your case to pursue compensation in Florida and protect your rights against insurance companies and other interested parties to your case. Florida now allows you only two years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit in court.
Contact a personal injury attorney for a free evaluation of your case to discuss the options you have available to seek compensation.