Jo Ann Hoffman & Associates, P.A. accepts most personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis. The contingent fee is the most common form of payment arrangement for plaintiffs seeking representation in personal injury litigation. Instead of billing the plaintiff on an hourly basis, a contingency fee means we are entitled to a percentage of the settlement or trial award, usually one-third. If you do not receive any compensation for damages, our firm is entitled to nothing. The contingent fee is perhaps the one device in law that gives injured people, no matter what their financial means, an even break in the courtroom against giant corporations and insurance companies. Were it not for the contingent fee, people of the middle class or of low economic means would not be able to have their day in court, a constitutional right which corporations and insurance companies fight hard to eliminate.
The "contingent" aspect of the fee means that if there is no recovery, there is no attorney fee owed. There are a number of advantages to this type of fee arrangement, the most obvious of which is the absence of a risk of owing our firm a fee when there has been no recovery. Another important advantage of this type of fee arrangement is the security the client should feel at knowing that Jo Ann Hoffman & Associates, P.A. has the same incentive as that of the client. The fact that we are willing to handle a client's case on a contingent fee basis is a reflection of the confidence in our ability to obtain a recovery in the case.
The percentage of the award charged on a contingency fee basis depends upon the type of case. Our attorneys advise our clients up front of all applicable fees and openly address any questions our clients may have. Although one case may demand a higher percentage fee than another, all contingency fees are paid only when there is a monetary recovery on behalf of the client.Payment of Costs
In connection with handling your case, it is virtually certain that Jo Ann Hoffman & Associates, P.A. will expend funds on your behalf in order to position the case for settlement and/or trial. Expenses run from fees to copy medical records, fees to file a lawsuit, transcript fees, court reporter fees, expert witness fees, and many others. In complex cases, out of pocket costs to prepare the case for trial can run into tens of thousands or dollars. In most cases, we will advance all fees for you so as to enable you to continue with your case through trial.Hiring a Lawyer
Before you sign any fee agreement, take time to consider whether you would be comfortable working with this person as your lawyer. Ask yourself whether or not he or she gave you clear and direct information. Will they be available in an emergency? Consider if the attorney spoke knowledgeably and with a minimum of legal terms. Think about whether this lawyer understood and shared your goals. As a client will you be a co-participant or will the lawyer be making all the decisions? Did the attorney give you a phone number in case you have an emergency?
The importance of creating a comfortable working relationship with your lawyer cannot be underestimated. The road to obtaining the results you are seeking may take a long time, and it will require a considerable amount of teamwork to get there. If you make the commitment to find an experienced lawyer with whom you can work jointly under a clearly understandable written fee agreement, you will be well on your way to the best possible result in your case.