This phrase is heard constantly in lawyer advertisements: There’s No Attorney’s Fee Unless there is a Recovery, or some variation, i.e. “No Fees Unless We win”, etc. This is referred to as a contingency fee arrangement. The lawyer essentially agrees to represent the person and agrees to only accept part of the money recovered on the clients behalf as a fee for services.
The Florida Bar regulates contingency fees. The Consumer Pamphlet on Attorney’s Fees states the following:
“In a contingency fee contract, you and your lawyer agree that the lawyer will not get paid any fees unless you win your case. However, you may be charged for costs such as court filing fees or expenses paid to witnesses. If you win, these expenses may be deducted from your share of the recovery.”
The inability to pay an attorney up front can act as a barrier to legal services. Following an injury or condition, when a person may or may not have money coming in–or if they do, it may be at a reduced rate–he/she is likely worried about trying to make ends meet in a difficult situation, and not able to pay for legal services up front. The contingency fee agreement allows an individual to obtain aggressive legal representation without an up front cost. The contingency fee provision also requires the attorney to focus his or her efforts on securing the best possible settlement or judgment for the client, as his or her payment is directly tied to the outcome.
Contingent fees can vary by case type. As an example, Social Security Disability fees are generally 25% of retroactive benefits awarded, up to a maximum of $6,000. In workers’ compensation cases, our firm charges a maximum of 25% of the settlement amount. In a personal injury case, fees are generally no more than 33 1/3, but can be case and fact specific.
These cases are all handles on contingency, so there is no up front fee, and there is only an attorney’s fee paid if there is a recovery.
If you have questions regarding contingency fees–or questions about attorney’s fees, you should contact our attorney to discuss the matter further.
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