Can I afford to hire an attorney after my automobile accident?
Written by attorney Harmony J. Widman
If you are in an automobile accident and you speak to the insurance adjuster before hiring an attorney, they will most likely try to convince you not to hire an attorney. One of the most common reasons insurance adjusters try to dissuade you from hiring an attorney is that “attorneys are too expensive.” The reality is that it is expensive for the insurance company NOT the accident victim because injury claims handled by attorneys recover substantially more money on average than accident victims who do not hire an attorney.
But this does raise an important question, if you are hurt in an automobile accident and want compensation for your injuries, how can you afford an attorney who will help you? Most cases involving automobile accidents are accepted by attorneys on a contingency basis. What this means for you, is that you do not pay the attorney any money upfront to the attorney; instead the attorneys’ fees are paid out of the gross compensation recovered as a result of your injuries. If the attorney is unable to obtain a compensation on your behalf, the attorney does not charge you a fee.
In Florida, the standard contingency fee for an automobile accident case is set by the Florida Bar at one third (33 1/3%) of the gross compensation figure (before costs, medical bills or any other deductible expenses) prior to filing the lawsuit, plus thirty percent (30%) of the gross compensation amount is between $1 million and $2 million, plus twenty percent (20%) of the gross compensation amount over $2 million. After a lawsuit is filed, the attorneys’ fees increase to forty percent (40%). of any recovery up to $1 million; plus, thirty percent (30%) of any portion of the recovery between $1 million and $2 million; plus, twenty percent (20%) of any portion of the recovery exceeding $2 million.
Through Rule 4-1.5 of the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar, clients entering into contingency fee arrangements have greater protection than in any other state, including a Statement of Client’s Rights for Contingency Fees, a 3-day “cooling off” period to reconsider after signing an agreement, and step-down maximum fee levels as the amount awarded increases.
Contingent fees offer experienced representation to those who need it most, when medical expenses and lost wages prevent the retaining of an attorney on an hourly basis.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, please contact us today for a free consultation.