Your world is turned upside down if you were injured in a car accident, even beyond the pain and suffering you experience. Not only are you likely incurring expensive bills for medical treatment, but you may also be out of work while you recover. The last thing you want to think about is paying attorneys’ fees to have a lawyer assist you in recovering compensation from the responsible driver. Fortunately, the best car accident attorneys in Florida will not charge you up front or require a deposit to represent you. The majority of personal injury lawyers use a contingency fee for payment of legal costs, so it is important to understand how these arrangements work.
Summary of Contingency Fee Agreements
When payment of legal fees is dependent upon the outcome of a case, the arrangement is considered a contingency fee. You may hear ads on TV or radio where law firms state: “You pay nothing unless you win your case,” or the equivalent; this essentially translates into a contingency billing agreement. The lawyer will represent you in exchange for a percentage of the total compensation you recover.
For purposes of a contingency fee, a “win” could be settling your claim out of court with the responsible driver’s insurance company or obtaining a verdict in your favor in court. The Florida Bar Rules of Professional Conduct allow lawyers to enter into contingency fee agreements in certain types of cases, including personal injury and car accident matters. However, there are certain requirements for these agreements.
Requirements for a Valid, Enforceable Contingency Agreement
By law, your attorney is required to put a contingency agreement in writing, stating the method and applicable percentage for determining the fee. The written contract must be signed by you, and the lawyer must give you a signed copy of the agreement.
In addition, if a different percentage applies to various stages of your case, that amount must be clear. For instance, there may be a lower percentage if your lawyer settles the claim, as compared to going to trial or appeal. Upon conclusion of your car accident case, the attorney must provide you with a written statement called a closing statement. This document must include a description of all amounts deducted from your total compensation.
Other Costs and Expenses
The written contingency fee agreement must also state the expenses which will be deducted from your compensation, and whether they will be applied before or after the designated percentage. The percentage in a contingency fee case is for the legal services provided, but the expenses are separate. They may include postage, copying documents, the costs for obtaining your medical records, retainers for medical and other experts, and similar expenses.
Talk to a Florida Car Accident Attorney About Contingency Fees
At Piccin & Glynn, Attorneys at Law, our lawyers represent clients according to a fair, reasonable contingency fee arrangement, because we know the struggles you face after being injured in a car accident. Plus, we offer a free initial consultation to discuss the details of your case. Please set up your no-obligation appointment by calling us at 352-581-6174 or filling out our online contact form.