That is the standard contingency rate for lawyers in these types of cases in Florida. The lawyer fronts all the costs and expenses, which can get quite high, especially after filing a lawsuit and going to trial. The attorney also bears the risk of losing and not recovering any money for his or her fees and costs, which the client does not have to pay back.
It may take several years, even after the lawsuit is filed. In the meantime there will be other opportunities for your attorney to negotiate with the insurance company's attorney, including mediation. But if your injuries are serious and the other driver's liability is relatively clear-cut, it may be a good case to go to jury trial. Be sure to discuss all the pros and cons with your attorney.
Depending on your age and prior injuries, along with the ongoing effects of your current injuries, your case may be worth more than those limits. You should look at your policy to make sure you didn't waive your stacked coverage too, but first hire an attorney. It is almost certain that the insurance company will try to pressure you to accept far less than the limits, especially when they know you are not a lawyer.
First and foremost, your health is the most important thing. I don't know how long ago the accident was, but if you still have back pain, it could be more serious than you realize. You may need to keep treating for a long time, and your health insurance may not cover all of it. What's worse, you may miss time from work or even lose/have to resign from your job if the back issue persists. That's why it's very important to hire a personal injury lawyer who is experienced in dealing with...
I agree with the comments made by the other attorneys to this post, and I would add that there are two limited exceptions under Florida law to strict liability for dog bites. One is if the dog was provoked, and the other is if the owner had a sign in plain view and easily readable saying "Bad Dog." In such instances, the actions of the mail carrier or other person who was bitten may be considered and the dog/property owner's liability reduced. In any event, you should consult an attorney...
I agree with the other attorneys' comments that the costs for various items are negotiable and that many attorneys do not charge the client at all for faxes, scans, and other costs. Excessive fees are prohibited in any event.
Florida law imposes higher standards than ordinary negligence cases when it comes to successfully suing medical doctors and hospitals for medical malpractice. Also, in any negligence case, you must prove damages. At any rate, it is important to consult an attorney soon in such cases because the statute of limitations is just 2 years for medical malpractice.
The court may need to approve the settlement, but it depends on the amount of the settlement and whether a lawsuit was filed in the case. Generally, Sections 744.301(2) and 744.387(3)(a), Florida Statutes, do not require court approval if the gross settlement is $15,000 or less unless a lawsuit was filed. Also, a legal guardianship or guardian of the property may be appointed depending on the amount of the settlement. It is definitely something you need to discuss with your attorney.
It may be difficult to prove your damages, but you should consult with an attorney experienced in defamation cases. You may be able to get an injunction also if the person is still telling lies about you.