Personal injury attorneys do not charge for any fees or costs unless the injured client obtains a recovery for their damages. This is called a Contingency fee.
Many lawyers charge by the hour for the time they spend in handling a legal matter. They also charge for the costs they incur during the representation of the client. Not only can this be very expensive but they also want to be paid up front and before the matter is concluded, no matter what the result of the litigation is.
The contingency is a financial award to the client as a result of the lawyer’s legal efforts. If there is no compensation received by the client, then the contingency has not been met, and no fee or costs are owed to the lawyer.
However, if there is a financial recovery and the contingency is achieved, then the attorney is entitled to a fee and recovery of his costs.
When an injured person retains an attorney, they enter into a contract of employment called a Contingency Fee Contract. This agreement provides if the client obtains a financial recovery, then the lawyer receives a percentage of the recovery as well as reimbursement of the costs incurred during the litigation.
The standard fee agreement, approved by the Florida Bar, is a percentage of one-third (1/3) of the recovery if no lawsuit had to be filed to obtain the settlement.
However, if a lawsuit has to be filed, the percentage increases to forty (40%). It is important to know that the percentage stays the same, no matter how long it takes to obtain a recovery, whether it is settled with or without a trial.
The contingency fee agreement allows a person who has been injured because of the fault of someone else to retain a successful and experienced attorney that they could never have hired if they had to pay by the hour and all costs up front as the litigation proceeds.
As a result of the contingent fee agreement, you are able to retain the very best attorney to handle your injury claim. That is why the contingent fee is called “the poor man’s key to the courthouse”.