Contingency fees for personal injury cases in Florida are capped at 33% to 40% for those up to $1 million and 10% for settlements greater than $1 million.
What Is the Amount for Attorneys’ Fees for Personal Injury Lawsuits in Florida?
Most of the time, attorneys’ fees for personal injury lawsuits in Florida are at around 33 1/3%. The attorney only takes that percentage of your total settlement in a successful case. However, if your case isn’t successful, you don’t have to pay the contingency fee.
What to Know Before a Lawsuit Is Filed
If you are injured in Florida due to someone else’s negligence or intentional actions, you might want to consider filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit against that person. If you do go that route, it helps to understand that you are responsible for paying your attorney if your lawsuit succeeds and you receive a settlement for your damages. This is based on a contingency fee that personal injury lawyers receive when you win your case.
What to Know After a Lawsuit Is Filed
After you have filed a personal injury lawsuit in Florida, there are a variety of things that can help improve your chances of success. For example, if you have ample evidence showing that your injuries were caused by an accident or other incident stemming from someone else’s negligence, you have more likelihood of winning your case. If you win and recover a settlement, your attorney will receive a contingency fee from a portion of your compensation.
Sometimes, you may even be responsible for contingency fees even if you lose your case. This is because there may be additional costs such as filing fees, court fees, expert witnesses fees, photocopying fees, deposition fees or law office staff fees.
Understanding Contingency Fees for Appeals
If your Florida personal injury lawsuit is not successful and you choose to file an appeal, you will be responsible for paying your attorney contingency fees if the appeal ends up successful. Specifically, for any appeal the plaintiff files after the outcome of a personal injury case, the personal injury lawyer receives an additional 5% for any recovery.
What You Should Know About Cases Against the Government
Personal injury lawsuits filed against a government agency or municipality have special rules. Like other injury cases, the basis for filing is negligence. The statute of limitations is shorter than that for lawsuits against individuals. Instead of four years, you have up to three years of the date of the accident or incident to file your claim, after which the government will investigate the incident.
Is There a Difference in Fees if Defendants Admit Liability?
A personal injury lawyer’s contingency fee is lower if the defendant admits liability in a case resulting in compensation higher than $2 million. It caps at 15% whereas compensation up to $1 million results in a steady 33 1/3% contingency fee. The attorney also has less work to do if the defendant admits to being at fault for the accident or incident that caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Such a situation doesn’t call for an investigation to determine how the situation occurred or have an expert witness brought in to testify about how the plaintiff’s injuries happened.
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What Is Rule 4-1.5 of the Florida Bar Regarding Contingency Fee Percentages Allowed?
Under Florida Bar rule 4-1.5, contingency fee percentages for successful personal injury lawsuits are set at 33 1/3% for compensation up to $1 million, 30% for compensation between $1 million and $2 million and 20% for compensation higher than $2 million.
What Is Considered a Reasonable Attorney Contingency Fee in a Florida Personal Injury Case?
Attorneys’ contingency fees in Florida personal injury cases range from 33 1/3% to 40% when compensation is up to $1 million. As a result, the lower end, 33 1/3%, is considered reasonable in these cases. Some plaintiffs might find it unfair if their attorney insists on a contingency fee that’s on the higher end of the scale, especially if their compensation is considerably below $1 million.
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What Are the Factors That Determine a Personal Injury Attorney’s Fees in Florida?
Various factors can determine a Florida personal injury attorney’s fees. They include the difficulty of the case, the amount of research involved, expertise and experience and overhead costs.
Understanding Difficulty of the Case
Some personal injury cases in Florida are straightforward while others are more complex. As a general rule, the more complex the case, the higher the attorney’s contingency fee. This is because more work needs to be put in, and that means additional time spent.
Understanding Research Involved in Injury Cases
Sometimes, a personal injury attorney will bring in an investigative team to determine the facts of the case to find out how the accident or incident occurred. Typically, this is necessary when the facts aren’t completely clear. The attorney may also contact witnesses who saw the accident or incident as it happened to ask any additional questions. If the case is very complex, the attorney may bring in expert witnesses to testify about the plaintiff’s injuries, the severity of those injuries, how they developed and how they affect the person’s daily life.
Understanding Expertise and Experience
Anyone who has suffered injuries due to someone else’s negligence or intentional action wants the best personal injury attorney on their side. The best attorneys have the high level of expertise and experience necessary to represent their clients, which is why their contingency fee might be on the higher side. However, the better an attorney’s expertise and experience, the better the odds that they will win the case.
Understanding Overhead Costs
There are various overhead costs involved in personal injury cases. While these are different from the attorney’s contingency fee, they can cause the contingency fee to be higher or lower based on the numbers associated with those overhead costs. Things that might be included are court costs, expert witness fees, administrative expenses, deposition costs and investigation and the costs of gathering information for evidence.
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What Are the Different Types of Attorneys’ Fees in Florida?
In Florida, a personal injury lawyer can charge different types of attorneys’ fees. They include fixed fees or flat fees, an hourly charge, contingency fees, charges specific to medical malpractice cases, division of fees, fees set by a judge, fees awarded by the court, fees for divorce cases, pre-suit fees before a lawsuit is filed and in-litigation fees before a lawsuit is filed.
Understanding Fixed Fees or Flat Fees
Some personal injury attorneys charge fixed or flat fees for specific services. This is to cover the attorney in the event that they have to spend an inordinate amount of time on an injury case as it could cause them to lose money while putting much of their focus on a specific case instead of being free to take on additional new cases. Retainers are another example of this type of attorneys’ fee.
Understanding Hourly Charges
Many attorneys include an hourly charge in their attorneys’ fees. Most personal injury lawyers don’t have this particular charge because they accept contingency fees instead. However, hourly charges tend to be steep and often run into the triple digits region.
Understanding Contingent Fees
Contingency fees are part of every Florida personal injury lawyer’s costs. You are only responsible for paying if your lawsuit I successful. The attorney takes a percentage of your total compensation, usually 33 1/3% to 40% based on the amount of money you recover for your damages. If the damages are up to $1 million, the attorney’s contingency fee falls under that percentage range. Those between $1 million and $2 million have a percentage of 30% and there may be a contingency fee of 15% or 20% for settlements topping $2 million.
Understanding Medical Malpractice Cases
Medical malpractice is a subcategory of personal injury and carries special requirements. Attorneys’ contingency fees are no exception to that. In Florida personal injury cases stemming from medical malpractice, there are limits on how much money attorneys are entitled to based on the compensation the plaintiff recovers. For example, if a plaintiff is awarded up to $250,000 in a successful medical malpractice case, the attorney’s contingency fee is limited to 30%. That amount is only 10% for any settlement exceeding that amount.
According to Florida law, depending on the circumstances, personal injury attorneys can recover even more in contingency fees in medical malpractice cases. This can happen when the lawyer has a formal agreement that states that they and the client can decide together on a reasonable payment if the lawsuit is successful. If the plaintiff is amicable to this agreement, they can sign it while acknowledging the waiver of the traditional contingency fee.
Understanding Division of Fees
In any personal injury case, there are myriad fees involved that the plaintiff is responsible for paying. In addition to the contingency fee that goes to the attorney if the case is successful, there is a breakdown of other fees that might come into play. They include photocopying fees, fees for investigations, deposition fees, transcript fees, court filing fees, expert witness fees, fees for trial exhibits and even postage. These fees must be paid even if the plaintiff doesn’t win their case. Depending on the complexity of the case, some of these fees may be applied while others are not.
Understanding Fees Set By a Judge
The judge may set certain fees in a personal injury case. Overall, court costs such as the filing fee can range anywhere from $100 to $400. If a jury is selected, each juror receives a daily stipend, another fee that must be paid. Other fees the judge can impose are for serving a summons and complaint to the defendant. Copies of the transcript are also charged from $2 to $4 per day, so if testimony takes place for a full day, it can run into the hundreds of dollars range.
Expert witnesses who testify in personal injury cases are also paid. Depending on the situation, these costs can run into the hundreds of dollars range for reviewing the evidence, making a report and testifying in court. If the case is particularly complex, expert witnesses might require pay reaching into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Understanding Fees Awarded By the Court
Certain court costs may be applied depending on the nature of a personal injury case, its complexity and other factors. Filing fees, deposition costs, expert witness costs and others may come into play as part of the fees the plaintiff must pay. This is all in addition to the contingency fee that goes to the personal injury attorney if the plaintiff wins the case and recovers a settlement.
What Are the Fees for Divorce Cases?
In addition to personal injury, there are various fees in Florida divorce cases as well. A contested divorce is more expensive than an uncontested one because of the inability of spouses to agree on all the terms of their split. Contested divorce in Florida can cost anywhere from Thousands to tens of thousands of dollars with the average falling at around $14,000 if children are involved. Fees associated with divorce cases include the attorney’s hourly charge, the couple’s ability to compromise and the length of the case.
With an uncontested divorce, there are more options available to the spouses rather than just going to court for traditional proceedings. There are fees for filing paperwork, photocopying, serving if necessary and attorneys’ fees if each party works with their own respective attorney. In that situation, the divorce can cost an average of $4,000. However, the parties can save money by choosing divorce mediation or collaborative divorce.
Understanding Pre-Suit Fees
If a personal injury case is settled pre-suit, meaning before it gets filed in court, it means that an insurance company has decided to settle. As long as the settlement is satisfactory to the plaintiff’s damages, this is often beneficial for both parties because it saves time and money. The plaintiff pays less in fees while still paying their attorney their contingency fee.
Understanding In-Litigation Fees
Before your personal injury case is filed with the court, there are a number of things that must happen. This is the in-litigation process and involves the discovery phase and gathering as much evidence as possible, filing motions with the court, finding expert witnesses and preparing for hearings or trial. All of these things cost money, so the plaintiff is required to pay fees at the end of their case even if it’s unsuccessful.
What Are the Benefits of a Contingency Fee in a Florida Personal Injury Case?
There are benefits that come with a contingency fee in Florida personal injury cases. Those are no upfront expenses, no fees for a losing outcome and the personal injury attorney sharing the risks and rewards.
No Upfront Expenses with Contingency Fees
Whereas some attorneys charge their clients upfront or hourly fees, those who practice personal injury law typically work strictly on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t have to worry about paying them assorted fees throughout the process of your case. Instead, you are only responsible for the contingency fee if you win your personal injury case. The attorney takes a percentage of your total compensation.
No Fees for a Losing Outcome in Personal Injury Cases
One of the most notable benefits of contingency fees in Florida personal injury cases is that you only pay if you win. However, if you lose your case, you don’t have to pay your personal injury attorney.
How the Personal Injury Attorney Shares the Risks and Rewards
Another benefit of contingency fees is that the personal injury attorney shares all the risks and rewards with their client. If the case is very strong, there’s more likelihood of a successful case and a good settlement amount. This means the attorney will reap the rewards along with the plaintiff. Likewise, if the case ends up being unsuccessful, the attorney shares the risks with the client.
What Does a Contingency Fee Cover?
Personal injury attorneys only take contingency fees when their client wins their case. The contingency fee is paid out through a percentage ranging from 33 1/3% to 40% of the average settlement and covers certain fees and disbursements that are included in that percentage in a successful personal injury case. Those costs typically include medical exams, testing, expert witnesses and various other expenses.
What Does a Contingency Fee Not Cover?
A contingency fee does not include things such as upfront costs and hourly attorneys’ fees. Other costs not included are anything that can advance your case such as filing fees, copying fees, deposition fees and various court costs.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Is the Contingency Fee in Florida?
Contingency fees in Florida range from 33 1/3% to 40% for settlements under $1 million, 30% for settlements between $1 million and $2 million and 20% for settlements higher than $2 million.
What Do Most Lawyers Charge for a Contingency Fee?
Most Florida personal injury settlements are around $50,000, falling well below the $1 million level. As a result, many lawyers charge around $17,000 for their contingency fee.
What Percentage Do Personal Injury Lawyers Take in Florida?
Because many personal injury settlements range between $10,000 and $60,000 in Florida, personal injury attorneys take 33 1/3% to 40% of their clients’ compensation.
Florida Contingency Fee Rules
The rule for contingency fees in Florida is that the attorney must be upfront about the fees they charge in a successful case based on the amount the plaintiff recovers. This must be made clear in writing and include details about charges in the event of an appeal.
Florida Attorneys’ Fees Statute
The Florida attorneys’ fees statute states that an attorney for a plaintiff whose case is successful must submit a sworn affidavit showing their time spent on the case that outlines all costs associated with their work. This must be reasonable and the fees are added to the plaintiff’s compensation. All attorneys’ fees must be claimed in good faith.