What are your fees?
Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore almost always works strictly on a contingency-fee basis, that is, our fee is contingent upon obtaining a recovery for your claim. We earn a percentage of any recovery on your case and earn a fee only if we are successful in obtaining a money recovery for you. The contingency-fee percentage that we earn is fully approved by the Florida Supreme Court. Our standard fee is 1/3 of any recovery if we are able to resolve your claim without filing suit, before the defendant formally answers a complaint that is filed, or if the defendant admits liability in responding to the initial complaint; otherwise, our fee is 40% of any recovery.
There is an additional 5% fee if an appeal is involved, which would normally be handled by an appellate specialist retained by us on your behalf.
Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore will advance all costs of investigating your claim and for the litigation itself. These costs can be significant and include the cost of filing, expert witnesses, deposition fees, travel, court reporting, investigator fees, witness fees, service of process fees, long-distance telephone, and other routine out-of-pocket expenses. If we make no recovery on your behalf, you will owe us nothing and are not obligated to repay us for any of the costs that we invested in pursuing your case. If a recovery is made, you will reimburse our costs out of your recovery. You have a right to know what the costs are as the case progresses, and we are always more than willing to share that information with you.
On rare occasions, we agree to represent clients on a different or modified fee basis, depending upon the facts involved in the specific case. Unlike large corporations, insurance companies, and businesses that pay their attorneys an hourly fee as the cases progresses, our clients typically do not have the financial resources to pay a lawyer for legal services as they are performed and for the costs as they are incurred. Legal malpractice cases can be quite complex, particularly since they usually involve litigating two claims to obtain a single recovery. The time and the costs involved can be extensive. Were we to charge by the hour, our fee for such service would likely be between $250.00 to $400.00 per hour, similar to what lawyers representing corporate clients would charge. Because of the cost of hiring a lawyer and paying him or her by the hour, our clients almost always find the contingency-fee system most attractive. It has, with good reason, often been referred to as the average person’s “keys to the courthouse.”
On some occasions, if the facts and circumstances of a case appear to be very simple and a resolution would be expected quickly, we are willing to reduce out normal contingency-fee arrangement and make other fee arrangements. Such cases are, however, rare, but we are certainly willing to discuss the issue. If you have the financial resources to pay an hourly fee for our services, we are certainly willing to discuss that option with you as well, if that is your preference.
In Florida, any agreement to represent a client on a contingency-fee basis is required to be in writing and executed by both the law firm and the client. In addition, the Florida Supreme Court requires all clients who are being represented on a contingency-fee basis to receive and execute a “statement of client’s rights” that has been prepared by the Florida Supreme Court. The document sets forth in general terms the rights that you have as a client. For your easy review, a copy of the Florida Supreme Court’s Statement of Client’s Rights is available on this website, by clicking the “What are My Rights?” tab under “Help Topics” at the top of this page. The statement can also be found on our main website, www.wagnerlaw.com, by clicking the “How We Work” link at the top of our home page and accessing the “Protecting Your Rights” left-margin tab. If you have any questions regarding either the Statement of Client’s Rights or our standard Representation Agreement, please do not hesitate to let us know. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have.
Special fee arrangement for cases submitted on-line
As a part of the services we offer from this web-site, we offer a special, reduced fee for those who submit their inquiries through our case evaluation form, which can be accessed from this web site. If we agree to represent you in your legal malpractice claim that is submitted through this web-site, and make a recovery for you without the necessity of filing suit, our contingent fee will be only 10% of the recovery. This special fee arrangements are available only for cases that are initially submitted for review via the case evaluation form at this site.