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How Does Contingency Work in an Injury Case?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Although Ft Lauderdale personal injury attorneys often require a cost deposit or retainer before agreeing to take on a case, there is a contingency process often utilized for such cases in Broward County, Florida.

Key Terms

  • Arbitrators: A panel of people or groups on both the defense and prosecuting side that present their opinions and ideas to a third person or group to resolve a case
  • Cost deposit: Additional money used that would exceed the original deposit for court costs
  • Overhead: A combination of the costs for equipment, library maintenance, rent, salaries, etc. (usually 35 to 50 percent of the total lawyer costs)
  • Trust account: A business account where a retainer or a cost deposit from clients' funds are stored

In a contingency case, instead of collecting these fees ahead of time, Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers may collect them after the case is over by a percentage of whatever the potential final payout results are. (The initial percentage and final payout amount do not include appeal cases or retrials).

While some injury law attorneys may agree to collect nothing if they do not win the case, if this agreement is not in writing, the client will still be held accountable for the kinds of fees mentioned above. These costs will be placed in a trust account.

Determining Fees in an Accident Case

According to the Rules of Professional Conduct, here are common fees that a client must pay:

  • 15 percent for recovery costs of more than $2 million: If the defendant admits wrongdoing but disagrees with the amount for damages
  • 20 percent for recovery costs between $1 million and $2 million: If the defendant admits wrongdoing but disagrees with the amount for damages
  • 20 percent for recovery costs of more than $2 million: If the client and attorney settle the case, or win this recovery amount, at trial
  • 30 percent for recovery costs between $1 million and $2 million: If the client and lawyer settle the case, or win this recovery amount, at trial
  • 33 1/3 percent for up to $1 million: If a case is settled before the filing of an answer or demand for appointment of arbitrators by the time the initial time period expires
  • 33 1/3 percent for up to $1 million: If no answer is filed or no demand for appointment of arbitrators is made by the time the initial time period expires
  • 33 1/3 percent for up to $1 million: If the defendant admits wrongdoing but disagrees with the amount for damages
  • 40 percent for up to $1 million: If the case ends after the filing of an answer or demand for appointment of arbitrators, by the entry of judgment
  • 40 percent for up to $1 million: If no answer is filed or no demand for appointment of arbitrators is made, by the entry of judgment

Always Read the Fine Print

Before signing a contract for a contingency case, make sure to validate exactly what will be owed by the end of the trial. Some personal injury attorneys may take the overhead and cost deposits out of the recovery amount, which would include the costs of court filings and witness expenses.

The injury and accident lawyers at Krupnick Campbell Malone Buser Slama Hancock Liberman will carefully explain all of your post-victory or post-settlement fees beforehand so there are no surprises later. Our attorneys handle cases throughout Broward County, including Hollywood.

Updated: May 24th, 2017

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