How do I pay for an injury attorney?
You can either pay an attorney by the hour or a contingency fee. Most injury lawyers that are established, financially secure or in a big enough firm, will front the costs on the injured party’s behalf and then deduct them once they collect for the client.
How much are attorney fees for a car accident?
The percentage that a Tampa personal injury lawyer can receive in a contingency fee agreement varies but typically ranges from 25 (for government cases) to 40 percent. Contingency fees percentages are pretty standard across Florida. Typically, experienced car accident lawyers charge (on the first million dollars) 33⅓% and 40% if there is a lawsuit. The percentages go down if your lawyer collects more than one million dollars. These percentages are established by the Florida Bar. Many personal injury firms require the client to pay the above-mentioned fees as they become due. If your contract states that you are responsible for these costs, you can expect a personal injury firm to call you and seek payment as the fees become due. If you cannot pay these fees, your case will likely not proceed until there is a payment. This is typical for lawyers who cannot afford to front the costs or in cases like a divorce. However, other personal injury firms (typically large firms and established firms), will cover all fees and expenses. However, the fees and expenses will be deducted from your settlement or final judgment. Although our firm is not a large firm, we have enough financial stability to front all fees and costs in a case and then deduct if (and only if) we collect.
What are the advantages of paying a lawyer only when the lawyer collects?
Hiring a lawyer and only paying the lawyer when the lawyer collects (also known as a ‘contingency fee’) has advantages for the consumer client. There are at least four advantages of contingency fees.
- The contingent fee is the one device in law that gives injured people of limited financial resources a chance to hire a lawyer and fight giant corporations and insurance companies. Few people after a car accident can afford to pay an experienced lawyer $500 per hour or more for a couple of years of challenging litigation. This levels the playing field against those companies.
- Contingent fees give the attorney the incentive to seek the highest recovery in your case, move the case quickly, and successfully collect on your claim. In other words, you only pay your attorney if your attorney collects; the more you make, the more your attorney makes; and because you do not pay your attorney until you collect, your attorney wants to win and collect. This perfectly aligns the lawyer’s incentive with results for the client, and the lawyer’s pay is directly proportional to results obtained for the client. A lawyer who knows he will not be paid unless his client is successful is highly motivated to get the optimal result for the client. By contrast, an hourly fee arrangement can encourage delay, inefficiency, and unnecessary action unless there is an incentive to earn future business from the same client.
- Contingent fees weed out cases that lack substantial merit. Experienced attorneys will not waste their time on a lawsuit that does not have enough merit to justify an investment of their time. We take a calculated risk. However, any lawyer who repeatedly bets on cases that have no value may soon go broke.
- Expenses of litigation, as well as fees, can be prohibitively high for injury victims. Lawyers who work for contingent fees typically also advance the expenses of litigation (filing fees, accident reconstruction, expert witnesses, court reporters, videographers, medical illustrations, exhibit preparation, travel costs, etc.), knowing that most clients are unable to do so, and are reimbursed for the costs out of money recovered for the client. Experienced in the rough estimation of costs and benefits, and knowing they will get that money back only if they win for the client, sensible lawyers are motivated to be prudent and spend only as much as necessary.
This is why we always reiterate that experience and results matter.
How much is my claim worth?
The value of your car accident claim depends on many factors that include the degree and seriousness of your injuries, pre-existing injuries, causation, property damage, and disability. It also depends on which party is at fault. If you are partly at fault, for instance, a portion of your damages will be deducted through the comparative fault law. The testimony of crash experts, physicians, and other professionals may have to be factored in.
At the end of the day, each accident is unique with its own set of circumstances. Here at Fernandez and Hernandez, we offer a free consultation for car accident victims. Our lawyers examine your case and then provide you a general estimate of the worth of your claim. Contact us today to get a free estimate of your case.
Should I hire an attorney for a minor car accident?
When to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident
If your answer to ‘Should I hire a lawyer for a minor accident?’ is a yes, then you should speak to an attorney sooner rather than later. But for many people, they are hesitant to file a claim for a minor accident because they do not know if it worth it. A better way to ask is: are you the same physically today as you were the day before the accident? If your answer is yes to this question, then it is not necessary to hire an attorney. If your answer is that you are not the same, then you should seek medical attention and hire an attorney.
If you have been injured in a Tampa auto accident, call Tampa injury lawyer Martin Hernandez at