How Expensive Is It To Hire a Car Accident Lawyer in Tampa?
November 16, 2022 | Winters & Yonker, P.A. | Car Accident
Hiring a car accident lawyer in Tampa won’t necessarily cost you a dime upfront since most personal injury lawyers charge using a contingency fee arrangement. In all probability, your lawyer will only charge you if you win, and you won’t owe a dime until the money actually arrives.
Your Initial Consultation
Your initial consultation is not only free of charge, but it also comes with no obligation on either side. If you don’t like the lawyer, you don’t have to hire them. The downside is that the lawyer will not take your case if they don’t like your claim. This may happen if the lawyer believes your claim is unlikely to win or if the amount of potential compensation is so low it is not worth bothering with. If the lawyer takes your case, you can be sure they believe they can win it.
How a Contingency Fee Arrangement Works
Under a contingency fee arrangement, you pay the lawyer on commission—typically up to 33% or 40% of your total compensation. If you win $100,000, for example, your lawyer could take between $33,000 and $40,000. If your lawyer loses your case—well, 40% of zero is zero, so zero will be your total legal bill.
Florida Rules on Contingency Fees
The Florida Bar Association limits the amount of a contingency fee that a Florida lawyer can charge their client. They generally cannot charge you any more than the maximum amount, even if you agree to pay more.
For cases that settle out of court without the filing of a lawsuit, your lawyer may charge you:
- 33% of the first $1,000,000;
- 30% of the amount between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000; and
- 20% of anything more than $2,000,000.
A lawyer can charge more than these limits, however, if they file a lawsuit and the opposing party files an answer. In that case, your lawyer can charge you up to 40% of your total compensation because a trial is more work than settlement negotiations.
However, if the defendant admits they are liable for the claim and a trial occurs only to determine the exact amount of damages, your lawyer can charge you:
- 33% of your first $1,000,000, just as in a settlement;
- 20% of the amount between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000; and
- 15% of anything more than $2,000,000.
Your lawyer can exceed these limits with court approval.
Setting the Amount of the Contingency Fee
Your lawyer will take several issues into account when deciding how much to charge for their representation, including:
- The amount of the likely case expenses. Since your lawyer pays the case expenses up front, and since you pay nothing if your lawyer loses the case, they risk great loss if case expenses are high. They may charge you more for taking this risk.
- How much your claim is worth. The more money you could plausibly win, the lower percentage your lawyer is likely to settle for. A small percentage of a large claim is still a lot of money.
- The complexity of your case. Wrongful death and catastrophic injury claims, for example, tend to be time-consuming.
- The evidence supporting your claim. The stronger your evidence, the more likely you are to win. The more likely you are to win, the less risk your lawyer faces. This will prompt your lawyer to agree to a lower contingency fee.
- Whether your case goes to trial. Trials take a lot of work, and the result is unpredictable. Consequently, going to trial will significantly add to your cost of representation. Most claims never make it to trial, however.
Your lawyer might take other factors into consideration as well, depending on the specific circumstances of your claim.
Your lawyer will incur certain out-of-pocket expenses by representing you. These might include:
- Investigation expenses
- Travel expenses
- Copying expenses for medical records and other documents
- Doctor’s reports
- Court costs (if your lawyer files a lawsuit)
- Video deposition costs
- Court reporter costs
- Preparation of trial exhibits, if your case goes to trial
- Expert witness fees
Your lawyer might incur other costs as well, depending on the specific facts of your case.
Contact a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer for Help With Your Case
Hiring a lawyer to represent you will probably result in a drastic increase in the amount you recover. If this happens, you will take home so much more money than you otherwise would have that you will come out ahead even after you pay your legal bill.
For more information, please contact Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with a car accident lawyer in Tampa today. We have five convenient locations in Florida, including Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, and Lakeland.
We proudly serve Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County, and its surrounding areas:
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
601 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL 33606
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
600 Bypass Dr Suite 224-D, Clearwater, FL 33764
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg Office
111 2nd Ave NE Suite 350, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
5006 Trouble Creek Rd Unit #200, Port Richey, FL 34652
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Lakeland Office
1543 Lakeland Hills Blvd Suite 18, Lakeland, FL 33805