Attorneys only get a contingent fee on the personal injury settlement and not the property damage claim though we do assist in the property damage portion of the claim.
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I don't usually charge a fee for helping clients with property damage claims if there is a bodily injury claim from the same crash. If I recover a great deal more then the value of the vehicle then I may charge a fee.
If the property damage offer is not reasonable by the at fault drivers insurance company then I tell my clients to make a collision claim toward their own insurance and let your insurance company go after the at fault drivers insurance to recover the deductible you have to pay.
If my client has no collision coverage then I will include the property damage claim in the same law suit as the bodily injury suit. This does take time to get this resolved so the client will need another form of transportation in the mean time.
Legal Disclaimer: To learn more about attorney Keith Ligori, please call our firm 888-254-7119 or visit our homepage at www.LigoriCappyLaw.com. Keith Ligori is licensed to practice law in the State and Federal Courts of Florida. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Often times the question does not include significant and important facts and time lines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Ligori strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in order to ensure proper advice is received. If you are interested with talking to Keith Ligori and asking him more detail questions about your crash or situation feel free to call him any time. We forward our office phones to Mr. Ligori's cell phone at nights and weekends so his clients or potential clients can contact him about your case. To learn more about Attorney Keith Ligori, please call our firm toll free at 888.254.7119 or visit www.keithligorilaw.com
Reputable attorneys will resolve your property claim along with the personal injury claim.
M. Todd Miller
Law Office of Todd Miller, LLC
1305 Southwest Blvd., Ste. A
Jefferson City, Missouri 65109
Phone: (573) 634-2838
Fax: (573) 634-7642
"Personal attention - Professional Results"
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It depends on the agreement that you have with whatever attorney that you hire. Generally, personal injury attorneys in Florida work on a contingent basis - meaning that they only get paid if you win the suit. However, clients and attorneys can always make other agreements, so long as such agreement does not circumvent any ethical obligation required by the attorney under his/her local rules.
With that said, your question really turns on what agreement that you originally made with your attorney. He/She may take a percentage of of the repair settlement and he/she may take a percentage of the personal injury settllement. Check your original retainer agreement and that should probably lead you in the proper direction.
Generally, attorneys do not charge for assisting clients with property damage claims; however, there are exceptions:
1. When you file a claim for diminishment of value (DOV) when the other insurance company's driver is at-fault and the repairs rdo not restore your vehicle's full value. It is entirely reasonable for an attorney to charge a fee for the additional recovery.
2. If the attorney is negotiating your injury claim and spends extra time dealing with the property damage issue as part of those negotiations, then this additional negotiation time could be counted in the attorney's costs. Time is an attorney's only means of making money. If he spends X+1 hours (X being the injury portion and 1 being the property damage portion) negotiating your settlement, then he isn't spending that additional hour on another client's case.
3. Sometimes, in serious injury cases, an attorney will make what is called a "unilateral demand" for payment that involve payment for the injury and property damage claims. Such demand s must be "mirrored" or strictly obeyed. The attorney may or may not take a portion of your property damage recovery in such as case.
In the end, as Attorney Paul Z. noted, the contract you sign with the attorney is what controls. All contracts with attorneys are negotiable, so you read the contract and decide if you accept the terms of the agreement.
Personally, I don't charge for property damage recovery UNLESS the entire contract is about property damage. Sometimes, people aren't injury, and they merely want the other side to fix their car. If I think all that's required is a few phone calls and a letter or two, I may a flat fee to get you what you deserve. If, though, you think Insurance Company A owes you more for the value (a DOV claim) for repairing your Porsche, then I may take that type of case on a percentage-recovered basis because it is excess over the car's repair.
Please also be aware that there are many ways of determining the value of a vehicle. Many times, clients expect to get what I call the "CraigsList Value" for their cars. On CraigsList, there is nothing governing what a person asks for their vehicle. Insurance companies use statistical software to determine a car's value (and whether it is worth repairing) by comparing how much reputable car-dealers charged for similar cars in similar conditions in your geographic region. The online calculators can get you close to that amount, but insurance companies pay for access to highly detailed information that you cannot usually obtain.
If an insurance adjuster offers you an amount for a total loss, then ask to see his paperwork. You have a right to see how she calculated your car's value. Sometimes, adjusters forget to add option, take off too much money for wear and tear, or even use the wrong car model. A simple mistake of entering the wrong month for when the car was totaled can skew the values because a vehicle's can change dramatically from one month to the next.
I hope this answers you question. Have your attorney e-mail me if he needs assistance with this issue.
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