What is a Contingency Fee and How Will it Affect My Florida Personal Injury Claim?
Hiring an attorney that charges on an hourly basis can be very expensive. If this were the only way to hire an attorney, most people would be denied access to the court system simply due to their inability to pay. While this would affect many, it would have the largest impact on those in most need of compensation from a lawsuit, the injured. For example, if a person is injured in a car crash and is now unable to work, that person would likely find it very difficult, if not impossible, to hire an attorney if he/she had to pay an attorney upfront or on an hourly basis. Fortunately, that is why contingency fee agreements were developed, and why they are most often used in personal injury cases.
A contingency fee agreement is an agreement whereby an attorney agrees to represent you in exchange for payment of attorneys’ fees out of any recovery in the case (usually a percentage of the recovery – typically 33 1/3%). It is contingent because, if you don’t recover any money, you won’t owe the attorney any fee for his/her services. This type of agreement allows those who are otherwise unable to afford the costs of pursuing a claim with an attorney to do so.
What Are the Benefits of a Contingency Fee Agreement?
Aside from the fact that you will not have to pay any upfront attorneys’ fees and that you only pay if you recover, there are a number of other benefits to a contingency fee agreement. They are:
Contingency fee agreements shift some of the financial risks of pursuing a claim away from the client. Pursuing a personal injury claim can be risky, as there is no guarantee that you will recover. By making the attorney’s fee contingent on any recovery, this risk is shifted away from the client and onto the attorney, who will not get paid unless he/she wins your case.
Contingency fee agreements give the attorney incentive to obtain the largest amount possible for your claim. As the attorney’s fee is limited to a percentage of your recovery, your attorney will want to recover the largest possible amount so that he/she can get paid more.
Contingency fee agreements give the attorney an incentive to resolve your case as quickly as possible. Many attorneys limit their practice to solely representing injury victims on a contingency fee basis. This means that the attorney does not have income coming in unless cases are getting resolved. The contingency fee agreement not only gives the attorney incentive to recover the most money for you but also to do so as quickly as possible (see our previous post about The Truth About Lawyer Advertising to avoid the common pitfall of hiring an attorney that does mass advertising).
Are There Any Drawbacks to Hiring an Attorney on a Contingency Fee Basis?
Because contingency fee agreements work to shift the risk away from the client and onto the attorney, the biggest drawback – if you have a weaker case – is that you may have difficulty finding an attorney to take your case. Most attorneys are reluctant to put a lot of time and money into a case that has little chance of recovery, or one that has a very small value. For example, if you were involved in a disputed intersection car crash and you only had one or two doctor visits, you may have some difficulty finding an attorney to take your case. However, if you look long enough, you may find one as every attorney will assess your case differently. That is why you should take advantage of an attorney’s free consultation. This is your opportunity to discuss your case with an attorney with no risk to you.
The attorneys at SouthShore Injury Attorneys are experienced in representing personal injury cases throughout the State of Florida. If you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, contact SouthShore Injury Attorneys at (813) 419-3866 for a free consultation.
If you have questions about your Florida accident case, you can download our Free Reports:
5 Medical Mistakes That Will Destroy Your Personal Injury Case
which are available on our website, or you can click the link provided. You can also contact us at (813)419-3866 to talk directly to a Ruskin Personal Injury Attorney now.