James D. Payer | November 30, 2023 | Personal Injury
If you’ve recently suffered a life-altering injury, your main priority is probably getting better. But if you’re missing work to recover and have many medical bills, the financial aspect of recovery can be a challenge.
That’s where a personal injury attorney comes in. These lawyers fight for you at the negotiating table and in court if necessary. If you win your case, the settlement money may help you get back on your feet.
However, if you’re considering hiring a lawyer, you might hesitate. After all, the last thing you need during this difficult time is another bill. So how much does an Orlando personal injury lawyer cost? It’s probably less than you think.
How Personal Injury Lawyers Charge for Their Legal Services
Many people have simply heard that lawyers are expensive. As a result, if they have a work injury or another kind of personal injury, they don’t even try to find legal representation.
But what these people often don’t realize is that different types of lawyers charge differently. In many practice areas, lawyers bill by the hour, charge a flat fee, or charge a retainer.
Fortunately, personal injury lawyers don’t bill in these ways. Instead, they work on contingency. This kind of arrangement essentially means that your lawyer only gets paid if you do. You and the attorney sign an agreement specifying what percentage of your settlement your lawyer will get, assuming you win a settlement.
In the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar, there are strict guidelines limiting the contingency fee a lawyer can charge. Notably, the caps are percentages — contingency fees aren’t capped at a dollar amount.
Here are the fee caps depending on when the recovery is made (when your legal team is awarded the money on your behalf).
In the pre-lawsuit phase:
- Up to $1 Million Total Damages: 31.33%
- Damages Between $1 Million and $2 Million: 31.33% of the first $1 million plus 30% of the amount after that
- Damages of More Than $2 Million: 31.33% of the first $1 million, plus 30% of the amount between $1 million and $2 million, plus 20% of the amount after that
In the litigation phase:
- Up to $1 Million Total Damages: 40%
- Damages Between $1 Million and $2 Million: 40% of the first $1 million plus 30% of the amount after that
- Damages of More Than $2 Million: 40% of the first $1 million, plus 30% of the amount between $1 million and $2 million, plus 20% of the amount after that
Of course, even before you get a settlement, there are case costs to settle, including filing fees, costs for travel, copying documents, and more. Your agreement with your attorney will outline how these costs will be paid.
How Much Does It Cost To Talk to a Lawyer?
If you’ve been injured, you might be worried that even consulting with an attorney will cost money you don’t have. But the good news is that personal injury attorneys almost always offer free consultations.
During the consultation, your potential lawyer will ask you about the circumstances of your accident or injury. If you have any associated paperwork (like an incident report from your workplace, medical bills, and more), that can be helpful to bring as well. The attorney will use any information you bring to determine whether you have a case that will do well in court or not.
Some attorneys will also take time to explain the process of litigation to you. Unless you’ve been unfortunate enough to have to file a personal injury suit before, chances are good that you aren’t quite sure how the process goes.
If the attorney agrees to take your case and you agree that the attorney is the best one to handle it, you can sign an agreement and begin your working relationship.
Can You Choose Any Personal Injury Lawyer You Like?
Personal injury lawyers take on some risk when they accept a new client. After all, if you don’t win your case, they will have invested hours of time for nothing. That initial consultation isn’t only for you to evaluate the law firm. It gives the law firm a chance to review your case and decide whether it’s worth the investment.
This means that personal injury attorneys will usually only take on cases they think they can win. As a result, if the attorney agrees to take on your case, you can feel confident that they can obtain compensation for you.
The Most Expensive Option Is Not Hiring a Lawyer
If you’ve been severely injured because someone else was negligent, getting the compensation you deserve can help you heal and transition back to everyday life. To get that compensation, you need a personal injury lawyer.
Sadly, many injured people won’t even reach out to law firms — they’ve always heard that lawyers are expensive, and they’re worried they can’t afford the attorney fees. Had they understood that personal injury lawyers only get paid if they win money for a case, their outcomes could have been very different.