While not available for every type of case, the other way in which a wronged party may be able to obtain the “keys to the courthouse” is to hire an attorney on a contingency fee basis. Under a contingency fee agreement, the lawyer is paid a percentage of the recovered proceeds when the case is resolved. The lawyer also agrees to pay all costs associated with the case, but will be reimbursed for those costs, in addition to the attorney’s fee, upon favorable resolution of the case. The contingency fee method allows ordinary people to be able to hire a lawyer and have their grievances (wrongs against them) addressed in a court of law without being unduly burdened financially. The benefit to the contingency fee agreement is obvious. A person does not have to be rich or powerful, does not have to burden their family or drain their bank accounts, life savings, or retirement accounts in order to address wrongs that have been imposed on them. Approximately 60% to 70% of all court cases in the United States are handled under contingency fee agreements.
In Florida, the contingency fee percentages for a single incident are set by law and are usually 33 1/3% before a lawsuit is filed, and 40% if a Complaint is filed, which begins the lawsuit, and the Complaint answered by the Defendant. On different types of cases, such as mass torts, that percentage could be higher or lower depending on the case, the value of the case, and the volume. However, for a single incident — including injuries — it is universal in Florida that the lawyer will be reimbursed 33 1/3% pre-suit and 40% after the suit is filed. Attorneys need to be reimbursed for the case costs, which they advance on the client’s behalf, as the costs are for only that particular case.
This is in contrast to cases, such as mass torts, where an attorney may be representing as many as 500 clients or more, but many of the costs associated with each of these cases is the same. For example, the cost associated with discovery (that is, depositions and other information that is obtained in the course of litigation) comes from the same source for each case. Examples of these types of cases include: Defective medical products, pharmaceutical liability cases, BP oil spill cases, and LIBOR manipulation cases. In these types of cases, 90% of the discovery comes from the same source, and can be used repeatedly in case after case. The majority of single incident cases filed in the United States that have a contingency fee basis are auto accident, motorcycle accident, trucking accident, slip and fall, trip and fall, wrongful death cases, nursing home abuse cases, and medical malpractice cases.
The right to have access to the “keys to the courthouse” is one of the most valuable rights that we have in our country, and should be guarded with every fiber of our beings. At Christopher Ligori and Associates we do everything we can to fight for our clients’ rights aggressively, but ethically, with great vigor and tenacity. We take pride in the fact that our lawyers speak at programs in many states around the country regarding trial strategy, legal skills, and many other topics that are relevant and useful to our clients. We consider it the highest honor to be asked by our colleagues to educate them and share our experiences. Please feel free to call us at any time for help with your injury claims at 877-444-2929.
To read Keys to the Courthouse Part I click here.