As a personal injury attorney practicing in Florida, I normally enter into contingency fee agreements with my clients. A contingency fee agreement is a contract entered into by a lawyer and a client where a fee is charged only if there is a favorable result. You may often see lawyers advertise "No fees or costs unless we win your case." These lawyers are entering into contingency fee agreements with their clients. The practice of using these contracts is common because personal injury litigation is often times expensive. Contingency contracts allow a plaintiff who has limited financial means to retain a lawyer to protect their rights.
When I enter into a contingency fee agreement with a client, I am required to provide him or her with a "Statement of Client's Rights". This document outlines the client's rights and some of my responsibilities during our representation. These rights include, but are not limited to the following:
• A contingency fee contract must be in writing and you have 3 business days to reconsider the contract.
• Before hiring a lawyer, you have the right to know about the lawyer's education, training and experience.
• A lawyer must advise you whether the lawyer intends to handle your case alone or whether other lawyers will be helping with the case.
• You have the right to know in advance how you will need to pay the expenses and legal fees at the end of the case.
• You have the right to be told by your lawyer about possible negative consequences if you lose the case.
• You have the right to receive and approve a closing statement at the end of the case before you pay any money. The statement must list all of the financial details of the entire case, including the amount recovered, all expenses, and a precise statement of your lawyer's fee.
• You have the right to ask your lawyer how the case is progressing and to have these questions answered to the best of your lawyer's ability.
• You have the right to make the final decision regarding settlement of a case. Your lawyer must notify you of all offers of settlement before and after the trial.
Corey A. Bundza is the managing partner at the Law Office of Bundza & Rodriguez, P.A. in Daytona Beach, Florida. Mr. Bundza focuses his practice on representing clients who have been injured through the fault of others.