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What Percentage Do Personal Injury Lawyers Take From Settlements?

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Personal Injury Settlements in Orlando

If you suffer an injury because of negligence, you may file a lawsuit against the person or party who caused your injury. Car accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, and wrongful death claims constitute just a few of the lawsuits with which a personal injury attorney can help you.

One of the most common questions most personal injury attorneys hear from potential clients is “what percentage do lawyers take of a settlement?” No attorney has a one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as it depends on different factors. Every injured individual, however, should seek guidance from an attorney with a free consultation before making any decisions.

Rules Governing Attorney Fees in Florida

Florida law imposes specific laws governing attorney fees, which every law firm in the state must follow. The Florida Bar has a set of guidelines that lay out the proper process for charging attorney’s fees. Primarily, these rules state that an attorney may not charge excessive fees for legal work; therefore, the more complex the case, the higher the fee that lawyers take for personal injury claims in most cases.

Contingency Fee Percentage Arrangements

Personal injury law often proves complex. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. An attorney collects a contingency fee based on the outcome of a case. While not permitted in divorce or criminal cases, attorneys can use contingency fee agreements in certain civil cases, such as car accidents, wrongful death, and cases that involve an accident in which someone suffers an injury.

Florida and Personal Injury Law Cases

Remember, to prove a personal injury case in Florida, or any other state, one must first demonstrate the other party behaved negligently. The threshold of proof varies depending on the type of incident which caused the injury. Below, we provide some examples:

Roadway Accident Liability

A drunk driver, a driver who drove while distracted (whether while texting, talking on the phone, or eating), or a driver who deliberately ran a red light will likely bear liability for the injuries that behavior causes in a roadway accident.

However, these cases can get complicated if they involve a commercial truck driver. Car accident lawyers may have to put more time and investigation into a case with more variables and more potentially liable parties.

For example, with a truck accident, various parties may bear liability, such as the trucker’s employer, the company responsible for maintaining the vehicle, or the company responsible for loading freight. A car accident lawyer may opt to charge a slightly increased fee because of the additional work involved in working with multiple insurance companies and longer-than-expected negotiation processes.

Court Verdicts Versus Settlements

Victims who suffer an injury and have a personal injury claim often ask how their claim will resolve and what difference that may make in their fees. Regardless of whether your case resolves via a settlement or court award, you will likely have to think about certain legal expenses within your contingency fee arrangement. However, there is no contest: A court case requires different and lengthier preparation, and will likely cost more for the lawyer and the client.

When negotiating with a single insurance company, for example, if you sustained an injury in a drunk driving accident, then the insurance company will likely not want the case to go to court. The more serious your injury, however, the more negotiation you will have to do.

A significant difference exists in claims where a victim suffered a broken leg versus a victim who suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A victim with a broken leg may have to miss work for two to three weeks; a TBI victim may never return to work. Victims who suffer a TBI will often require a skilled catastrophic injury lawyer to handle their case due to the higher level of complexity.

Additionally, if your case proceeds through court, the court will charge you filing fees and other costs, and your lawyer must spend significant time drafting and filing all required legal documents and preparing your case, including gathering evidence that establishes the at-fault party’s liability. If the attorney successfully argues your court case, then the defending party (insurance company) may appeal, which may involve additional court filings, more time to prepare to address the appeal, and additional time in court.

Contingency Fees, Court Costs, and Other Costs

When taking on a personal injury case, most personal injury lawyers will charge a contingency fee. This means that unless an attorney successfully recovers compensation on your behalf, you do not pay for legal services. Remember, this does not mean that you will not pay anything for legal services, as you may need to pay other costs associated with filing a claim, such as filing fees.

Legal proceedings come with numerous different costs. In Florida, the courts set the fees for the submission of documents. Orange County civil court fees vary depending upon the type of documents submitted to the court. In most cases, your contingency fee agreement will specify that you must pay these fees, either as they come about or after your case.

Attorneys may incur other fees, as well, including:

  • Fees paid to witnesses;
  • Fees paid for paralegal services;
  • Postal fees for certified or return receipt mail;
  • Copy fees and other associated fees; and
  • Court filing fees.

Generally, if you sign a retainer agreement with a personal injury attorney, the agreement you sign will explain the fees you must pay if the case does not go in your favor. This agreement will also explain what percentage of your settlement the attorney will collect if you receive compensation.

The Value of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

Every attorney knows how to answer certain questions from prospective clients. One of the most inevitable questions: Is it worth it to hire a lawyer following an accident? In nearly all cases, the answer is YES. Hiring a lawyer after a car accident, when you have suffered an avoidable injury in a building, or when you or a loved one suffered an injury or illness because of medical malpractice, can prove very beneficial to you and your family.

Some of the reasons that you should retain an attorney to handle your case include:

  • An attorney serves as an advocate for your rights and protects your interests.
  • Insurance companies don’t have your best interest in mind, and an attorney can help to protect your rights.
  • The at-fault party will likely have a lawyer, so you should too; make no mistake about it, even the insurance company will have a team of lawyers.
  • An experienced attorney knows how to negotiate successfully with insurance companies and may even have a track record to prove it.
  • An attorney understands Florida insurance and personal injury laws.
  • A personal injury lawyer can investigate your case and gather valuable information, such as medical records, police reports, and other documents that can help strengthen your claim.
  • An attorney can advise you if a settlement seems reasonable. Remember, in certain circumstances, accepting a settlement may prove more beneficial than taking your case to trial.

These constitute just some reasons why you want to hire a lawyer for your personal injury claim. Hiring the right law firm can make a difference to you and your family’s long-term financial stability, particularly if you suffered a serious injury and have an uncertain future.

Negotiating Fees With an Attorney

When you meet with an attorney regarding your personal injury case, the attorney will take the time to inform you about their fee structure. Speak with the attorney about the details, because this amount may vary and will depend on the attorney’s experience handling cases like yours.

Strict guidelines exist for fees associated with personal injury cases that every attorney in Florida must follow. For example, when a verdict exceeds $1 million, the law may cap what the attorney can collect.

The attorney you eventually hire will help you further understand what you can expect concerning your payment. Remember, one benefit associated with a contingency fee structure is that you don’t have to pay an hourly fee.

You Should Retain a Lawyer to Handle Your Personal Injury Case

Because of the challenges associated with negotiating with insurance company adjusters, you will likely fare better if you hire an attorney to handle your case, particularly if you have serious injuries following any personal injury accident. Insurance companies don’t have your best interests in mind, but your attorney will.

The insurance company will likely make a lowball settlement offer in the hopes that you will accept it, so you can get on with your life. These companies know that once you accept an offer, they won’t face any liability for any future expenses that may stem from the illness or injury you suffered in the initial accident.

You need time to recover from your injuries. As such, you should focus on your physical recovery and getting back to as near normal as possible or adjusting to your new normal. You don’t want to have to deal with back-and-forth dealings with insurance adjusters at this time.

You do not and should not have to go through this process alone. While the insurance company will have the goal in mind of settling as quickly as possible for as little as possible, you want to make sure your family feels as financially stable as possible regardless of your injuries. This puts your goals at direct odds. You can even the playing field by working with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Regardless of why you may want to retain a personal injury attorney, you must determine your legal options as soon as possible. Do not hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney today to discuss the details of your case and ask legal questions. You have nothing to lose by scheduling a free, no-obligation consultation.

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We know that accidents don’t always happen during business hours. That’s why our experienced lawyers are standing by, 24/7/365, to listen to your story, evaluate your claim, and help you decide what to do next. Call us now and we’ll see if we can pursue compensation for your injuries!

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