What is a Contingency Fee?
November 17, 2021
Contingency fee agreements are especially common in personal injury cases. Most of the time, under these fee arrangements, a lawyer does not receive payment unless or until he/she obtains a settlement award, jury verdict, or arbitration award in the case for the personal injury client.
If the attorney does not recover monetary compensation on the client’s behalf, the attorney is not entitled to recover a fee. If the attorney collects a fee, the percentage he or she can recover depends upon certain circumstances, including whether the case settled out of court or whether the attorney needs to file a lawsuit and they need to litigate the case in the Florida state court system.
Under most contingency fee arrangements, the client does not pay anything upfront. Suppose you have suffered an injury in a car or truck accident, slip and fall, or other circumstance that resulted from another person’s negligence. In that case, you can recover monetary compensation in the form of damages. A knowledgeable Plantation personal injury lawyer can explain his or her contingency fee agreement with you and make sure that you understand it completely.
Once you sign the agreement, your attorney can begin advocating for you by submitting a settlement demand package and negotiating with the insurance company adjuster on your behalf. If the case does not settle out of court, your attorney could file a lawsuit in the Florida state court system and pursue monetary compensation for you there.
If the case needs to go to trial, your attorney can provide you with representation in the courtroom or at the arbitration table in the case of a binding arbitration proceeding. No matter the circumstance, you can rest assured that your Plantation personal injury attorney will advocate for you and work to get you fully and fairly compensated for your injuries.
Types of Personal Injury Cases in and Around Plantation
Personal injury legal matters focus around negligence or an at-fault person or entity behaving unreasonably under the circumstances.
Personal injury legal actions typically involve:
- Motor vehicle collisions
- Slip and fall accidents
- Premises liability
- Construction accidents
- Boating accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
When an at-fault individual or entity behaves in a careless, reckless, or negligent manner under the circumstances, they can bring about many of these types of accidents, which in turn could lead to numerous injuries for the accident victim.
Injuries sustained in one of these types of accidents may require a significant amount of medical care and treatment, often for months on end. Some of these injuries are also permanent and can impact the accident victim’s overall quality of life and well-being. Personal injuries that accident victims may suffer in a Plantation accident include traumatic head and brain injuries, soft tissue contusions, neck and back injuries, spinal cord injuries (including paralysis), and broken bones.
Accident victims who suffer any of these types of injuries because of someone else’s negligence may have to undergo a significant amount of medical treatment. Soon after the accident, the injured person may need to seek medical treatment at an urgent care center or local hospital emergency room. The doctor who is on call there can review the accident victim’s symptoms and undertake the necessary testing, including CAT scans, MRIs, and x-rays, to determine the severity of the accident victim’s injuries.
More importantly, the attending physician or nurse could recommend a course of follow-up medical treatment. For example, depending upon the nature and extent of injuries sustained, the accident victim might need to consult with a primary care doctor or a specialist, such as an orthopedic doctor who treats a broken bone.
In addition to this initial medical treatment, an accident victim may need to attend physical therapy sessions or have a medical procedure, such as surgery, performed. At other times, accident victims may need to undergo pain management sessions, including injections, to relieve pain and discomfort stemming from accident-related injuries.
The good thing about having a knowledgeable Plantation personal injury attorney on board in your case is that your lawyer can begin advocating for you, even while you are actively treating your injuries.
Once you sign a contingency fee agreement with a personal injury lawyer, your attorney can begin collecting your medical records and bills and gathering other important pieces of documentation for your case, such as copies of the police report, incident report, and any witness statements that investigators might have prepared following your accident.
Your attorney can begin assembling these documents into a demand package which will then be sent to the insurance company once you have finished all of your accident-related medical treatment.
How Contingency Fee Agreements Work in Plantation Personal Injury Cases
As soon as possible, after you suffered injuries in an accident someone else’s negligence caused, you should look for a knowledgeable Plantation personal injury attorney to represent you throughout your legal matter. After you meet with an attorney, he or she may present you with a contingency fee agreement. These agreements provide the structure for how an attorney will collect their fee if you recover compensation for your injuries in the case.
First of all, for a contingency fee agreement to be valid and enforceable, it must be in writing, and the client must sign it. The contingency fee agreement must also accurately state the fee arrangement.
In addition, under a contingency fee agreement, any litigation-related expenses, such as the costs of obtaining medical records and/or hiring a medical expert or an investigator, may be taken out of any settlement or judgment that a court awards at the end of the personal injury case. Finally, if the case does not settle out of court and no jury verdict or binding arbitration award is rendered, such as if the defendant wins the case on liability, then the accident victim’s lawyer will not be entitled to any fee or expense reimbursement under the contingency fee agreement.
When you meet with a Plantation personal injury lawyer to discuss the contingency fee agreement, you should be sure to ask questions and seek clarification on any issues that are confusing to you. If and when you sign the contingency fee agreement, your attorney will assume that you understood it, and you will have to follow all of its terms.
In addition, you want to make sure that you obtain a copy of the lawyer’s contingency fee agreement for yourself so that you can refer to it later on in the process. A knowledgeable Plantation personal injury attorney in your area will answer all of your questions and make sure that you understand every provision of the contingency fee agreement you are signing.
What Happens After You Sign a Contingency Fee Agreement?
Once a contingency fee agreement is signed in your personal injury legal matter, the attorney can begin advocating for you in your case and working on getting you compensated for your personal injuries. Once you have completed all of your accident-related medical treatment, your attorney could gather up all of your medical records and bills from the various treatment providers where you sought medical treatment.
In addition, your lawyer can gather all of your wage loss documentation, photographs of your injuries, photographs of property damage, and any victim impact statement and assemble them into a formal settlement demand package directed to the insurance company adjuster. Along with the demand package, your lawyer will prepare a demand letter to be sent to the insurance company adjuster assigned to your case. Once the adjuster receives all of this documentation, he or she will review it and might make an introductory offer to settle the personal injury claim.
In many instances, initial settlement offers are far below the actual claim value. Therefore, your lawyer should negotiate with the insurance company to reach a better settlement offer to compensate you for your injuries. In some cases, insurance companies are unwilling to significantly increase their settlement offer on the case.
Insurance companies do this because they want to try and save themselves as much money as possible. If the insurance company refuses to budge significantly on the pending settlement offer, your lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit in the Florida state court system. Even after your attorney files a lawsuit, your lawyer may continue negotiations with the insurance company and/or with defense counsel once an attorney is appointed to handle the case.
During the litigation process, the parties will engage in discovery, and the defense attorney might take the accident victim’s discovery deposition. Based on what they learned during that deposition, the insurance company might offer more money to settle the case. If the case still does not settle, the parties could take the matter to a jury trial. During a jury trial, the jury will decide the outcome of all disputed issues in the case. In some instances, opposing counsel might contest fault or liability, while at other times, the only issue at the personal injury trial will be that of monetary compensation and damages.
As an alternative to a jury trial, the parties might consider mediation or binding arbitration. A neutral case evaluator will help the parties facilitate meaningful settlement discussions and work to get the personal injury case settled during a mediation proceeding. At a binding arbitration proceeding, a neutral, third-party arbitrator will listen to the evidence and decide what, if any, damages to award the accident victim plaintiff.
Under some contingency fee arrangements, a lawyer can increase his or her fee if the lawyer has to file a lawsuit in the case. At other times, the lawyer may not increase the contingency fee unless or until the case goes to trial or binding arbitration. You should check with your attorney to make sure that you fully understand every provision of the contingency fee agreement and how the agreement will assess the attorney’s fees once the personal injury case is over.
Damages in Personal Injury Cases and Determining the Attorney’s Fee
Victims of accidents that result from someone else’s negligence might recover damages. The amount of monetary compensation and damage an accident victim plaintiff can collect will depend upon the nature and extent of the injuries sustained and the cost of the medical treatment which the accident victim obtained. Accident victims might be entitled to recover monetary compensation for all related medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of life enjoyment related to the accident.
Accident victims could recover monetary compensation through a favorable settlement, jury verdict, or arbitration award. The damage award received is a gross number, and attorney’s fees will be deducted based upon the percentage stated in the lawyer’s contingency fee agreement. Generally speaking, if you file a lawsuit and/or the case had to go to trial or binding arbitration, the lawyer’s fee may increase.
A Plantation, Florida personal injury attorney can answer all of your questions regarding the contingency fee agreement and the fee amount owed to them after your personal injury case. Once you sign the contingency fee agreement, your attorney can begin representing you in your case and zealously advocating for all of your legal interests. This includes seeking compensation that fully covers all of your losses.
“These lawyers are not only very efficient, but caring as well. I would not hesitate to refer them to anyone.”
MATTHEW T. / FORMER CLIENT