A Look at Attorney Fees for Accidents in South Florida

If you live in South Florida you probably come across advertising for personal injury attorneys on a daily basis. The airwaves are filled with this add to a level of annoyance. In those advertisements you probably here something to this effect, “you don’t pay if we don’t win,” or “you won’t pay unless we recover for you.” As a Miami car accident injury attorney I have been asked what the previous statements mean countless times.

These statements are clear enough. In other words, should your attorney not be able to recover anything then you won’t have to worry about paying any costs. Of course, the question then becomes what happens if your attorney recovers monies for you. In most accident cases you hire an accident or personal injury accident attorney in Miami for what is called contingency basis. This means that at the end of the day your attorney gets a percentage of the total amount. This percentage is guided by the standards set by the Florida Bar in Rule 4-1.5 cited in part below:

(i) Without prior court approval as specified below, any contingent fee that exceeds the following standards shall be presumed, unless rebutted, to be clearly excessive:

a. Before the filing of an answer or the demand for appointment of arbitrators or, if no answer is filed or no demand for appointment of arbitrators is made, the expiration of the time period provided for such action:

1. 33 1/3% of any recovery up to $1 million; plus 2. 30% of any portion of the recovery between $1 million and $2 million; plus 3. 20% of any portion of the recovery exceeding $2 million.

b. After the filing of an answer or the demand for appointment of arbitrators or, if no answer is filed or no demand for appointment of arbitrators is made, the expiration of the time period provided for such action, through the entry of judgment:

1. 40% of any recovery up to $1 million; plus 2. 30% of any portion of the recovery between $1 million and $2 million; plus 3. 20% of any portion of the recovery exceeding $2 million.

c. If all defendants admit liability at the time of filing their answers and request a trial only on damages:

1. 33 1/3% of any recovery up to $1 million; plus 2. 20% of any portion of the recovery between $1 million and $2 million; plus 3. 15% of any portion of the recovery exceeding $2 million.
d. An additional 5% of any recovery after institution of any appellate proceeding is filed or post-judgment relief or action is required for recovery on the judgment
Any fees above what is set in the rule above are clearly excessive. A great many cases are settled before any litigation and for the most part are settled for an amount below $ 1 Million. This means that in most cases attorney fees equal 33% percent of the entire recovery. There is a possibility that this fee may go up to 40% if the matter is litigated. The fees go up at the point of litigation because it requires more work on the part of the attorney. Before signing a contingency agreement you should read it carefully and make sure it does not exceed the amounts allowed by the rule cited above.

Goldstraj & Associates – the South Florida injury attorneys – are here to assist you if you or a close one are been involved in any kind of accident. Please do not hesitate to contact us at 305.764.9907 or 1.888.413.8353.