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How Do Personal Injury Lawyers Get Paid?

Posted by Guy DiMartino | Apr 16, 2013 | 0 Comments

Florida personal injury lawyer, Guy S. DiMartino, explains how personal injury attorneys get paid.

In the practice of law, there are generally three ways that attorneys get paid: (1) an hourly fee contract; (2) a case fee; (3) a contingency fee.  The hourly fee contract is an agreement that the client will pay the lawyer their typical hourly fee, which can range from $250.00 to $500.00 depending on the lawyer and the nature and scope of the work. The lawyer will bill the client on a 30 day billing cycle and the client will pay as he or she goes.  The case fee is typical in certain types of cases.  For instance, many criminal lawyers will charge a flat fee, say for a first time DUI or a traffic ticket.

The contingency fee agreement

In personal injury cases, the most typical fee agreement is the contingency fee contract.  Under this fee agreement, the attorney does not get paid until the contingency is met, that is, the client recovers for their injury.  If there is no recovery – there is no attorney fee.  Many times this fee arrangement works out for the personal injury client because many people injured in accidents are not able to pay an hourly fee.  Additionally, many personal injury cases are very expensive to bring and the costs can be between $5,000 – $50,000, and in some cases, the costs can get over $100,000.

The Florida Bar sets out the rules of contingency fee agreement in Rule 4-1.5(f) .  Some of highlights are contained within the “statement of client's rights”:

  • The attorney's fee is a percentage of the gross recovery, typically 33% and it adjusts depending on the amount of the settlement or whether the case goes into litigation.  Medical malpractice cases and cases against governmental agencies have different fee structures.
  • Client can cancel the contract within 3 days.
  • There is no legal requirement to charge a contingency fee.
  • Before hiring a lawyer, you have the right to know the lawyers training, education and experience.
  • If the lawyer intends to refer the case to another lawyer, he/she should tell you that up front.
  • You have the right to know about legal expenses (costs) in the case.
  • You have the right to be told about adverse consequences.
  • You have the right to make the final decision about settling the case.

As a general rule, contingency fee contracts work out for personal injury clients because they are not in a position to lay out thousands of dollars for fees and costs before receiving any recovery.  Up front the attorney assumes the risk that the case will be fruitful.

If you have any questions about how personal injury lawyers get paid in Florida, you can call me directly on my cell at (352) 267-9168 or fill out the internet consultation form on the right.

About the Author

Guy DiMartino

I have loved helping people in need for almost three decades.  It has been my privilege to serve people as their pastor, chiropractor, and lawyer.  The current focus of my legal practice and life’s passion is helping the seriously injured receive complete compensation for their injuries. I am a Florida Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney. What that really means is that I am no stranger to the courtroom.  I have successfully tried and handled serious cases in state and federal courts.  My backgrounds in both law and chiropractic medicine have given me a unique perspective, extensive knowledge, and wide experience to serve those I represent. For years as a chiropractic physician, I treated my patients to alleviate their pain and suffering. Now as their lawyer, I fight to bring them financial compensation for their pain and suffering. During my years of service, I have handled many traumatic injury cases ranging from the traumatic amputation of a limb to brain and spinal cord injury.  I consider it an honor to serve you and your family. When a person entrusts me and I accept to represent them, I don’t take that relationship and responsibility lightly. My approach is that we work as a team. We are partners and our goal is the best outcome for you and your family with the highest level of communication throughout. I am always available by phone or email to discuss my potential representation of your injury case. I handle cases throughout Florida. Education: National University of Health Sciences – BS (1984), DC (1986) Valparaiso University School of Law – JD, summa cum laude (1999) Bar Admissions: Florida (2000), Indiana (1999), Illinois (2000, expired); US District Courts of Appeals (11th Circuit, 7th Circuit); United States District Courts: Southern and Middle Districts of Florida; Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana; Northern and Central Districts of Illinois; and District of Colorado. Certification:  Civil Trial, Florida Bar Guy DiMartino on Google+ – Circle Guy on Google+ Guy DiMartino on Google+

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