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How Much Does a Florida Auto Accident Attorney Charge?

If you've been injured in an automobile accident that was someone else's fault, you may have considered hiring a Florida auto accident attorney to represent you. But if you've never before hired a lawyer, you may be wondering how much lawyers cost.

Most personal injury lawyers-including those who represent auto accident victims-charge for their services in one of two ways: an hourly rate or a contingency fee.

Florida Auto Accident Attorneys & Contingency Fees

By far, contingency fees are the more common type of billing arrangement for personal injury victims. With a contingency fee, you pay your lawyer a percentage of any money you receive from the party at fault in your accident. You'll also be responsible for reimbursing the lawyer for any expenses he or she incurs on your behalf.

Contingency fees offer car crash victims a few advantages:

  • You pay the lawyer no money up front
  • You pay the lawyer nothing if you do not win the case
  • Because your lawyer also stands to gain, he or she will be motivated to work hard on your behalf

Before agreeing to hire a lawyer on contingency, know that you can try to negotiate a lower percentage rate. You can also ask the lawyer to calculate his or her fee based on the net award (money remaining after expenses are deducted) and not the gross award (money available before expenses are deducted).

Florida Car Accident Attorneys & Hourly Fees

With an hourly rate, also called an hourly fee, you pay the lawyer for the actual time he or she works on your case. This fee, plus any expenses incurred on your behalf, is paid regardless of the outcome of your case.

While hourly billing rates are common for many types of legal work, they are uncommon among Florida auto accident attorneys. If you are unable to find a lawyer willing to represent you on contingency, this may be a sign that your case is weak or that attorneys think your case isn't worth much money.

Calculating the Cost of a Florida Auto Accident Attorney

Before you agree to hire a lawyer, make sure you understand the estimated cost of hiring the attorney. Ask the lawyer to walk you through the math:

  • How much does the lawyer estimate your case could be worth if you settle? If you go to trial?
  • Using these estimated awards, how much would you pay in legal fees if the case settled? If the case was resolved at trial?
  • How much are estimated legal expenses if your case settles? If it goes to trial?
  • How much money would remain after fees and expenses if your case settles? If it goes to trial?

It is important to remember that there is no guarantee you will win your case, nor can your attorney guarantee what size award you will receive. You will have to pay any agreed-upon legal fees even if it ultimately means your award does not fully cover your auto accident-related expenses.