People want to know how much it will cost to hire a lawyer. The answer is, it depends. Personal injury cases, those where our client has been injured by the negligence of others, are typically based on a contingency fee. This is a fee that is contingent upon a successful resolution. In other words when the attorney is successful in negotiating a settlement or victorious at trial the attorney's fee and expenses are paid directly to the attorney out of the settlement proceeds. In personal injury cases this fee is usually 33 1/3% to 45% of any resolution proceeds.
With contingent fee cases in Florida and Georgia, this fee arrangement must be spelled out in a fee agreement signed by the client and the attorney. If you, as a client or prospective client, are not sure what the arrangement is ask the attorney. Your personal injury case also costs money for the attorney to properly advance your case towards trial if that becomes necessary. These costs include hard out of pocket costs like the acquisition of medical records, postage, court filing fees, fees to an investigator, service of process costs, medical doctor opinions, and expert witnesses. The lawyer bears the burden and the risk of these costs generally. Barring any other arrangement in the contract with the attorney, the client is not responsible for paying these costs unless and until there has been successful resolution to the client's case. If you don't win you don't have to pay the costs either.
There are exceptions to the above and alternative fee arrangements for personal injury cases. Ask your lawyer about alternative fee arrangements. If you are willing to pay up front for legal representation in a personal injury claim your attorney might be willing to consider working on an hourly basis or creating some kind of hybrid fee arrangement. Whatever the arrangement the Florida and Georgia bar associations require that the fee be "reasonable."
Other types of claims also pay on a contingent basis. Social Security Disability and Social Security Supplemental Income for example pay up to 25% with a cap of $6000 on the back due benefits when the attorney is successful in securing Social Security benefits. Workers Comp, medical malpractice, labor and employment and defamation cases are also generally contingent fee cases. In Florida and Georgia, Divorce and child custody cases may not be paid on a contingent fee.
(904) 422-4323 in FL
(404) 421-4233 in GA
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Attorney Erik Rosskopf
An active member of the Florida and Georgia bar associations, he practices in Jacksonville Florida handling cases throughout North Florida and Georgia.