How the Hofmann & Schweitzer Maritime Injury Lawyers Earn Their Fees
Our firm works on a contingency fee arrangement. We are regulated by the states where we practice, and we charge significantly less of a contingent fee than many attorneys do. Many attorneys in the Southern states, for instance, charge as much as 40% of the gross recovery if the case settles, and some charge as much as 50% if it goes to verdict. Hofmann & Schweitzer, however, NEVER charges our clients who directly retain our firm more than 33-1/3% of the net recovery. This means that we reimburse ourselves for the expenses we advanced to win your case, and then take only 1/3rd of the recovery after those expenses have been reimbursed to us. This is the way the state of New York by law protects injured workers, limiting your attorney to this fee schedule. For those clients from New Jersey who retain our Jersey affiliate, the percentages for attorney fees on large settlements or verdicts permitted by state law are even less.
While these amounts may seem to be a lot, keep in mind that clients are not required to pay their attorneys if the case does not result in a recovery, by settlement or judgment after verdict. In addition, the costs of prosecuting these cases can run into many thousands of dollars which our firm will advance, and wait until the case is resolved before we get reimbursed. We often invest hundreds of hours in representing our clients. Remember, we don’t get paid unless you win your case, so we have an incentive to work hard for you. Clients who hire attorneys also typically receive higher settlements than those who don’t.
It’s worth the cost of an attorney who will:
- Tell you the truth. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve worked for an employer; their insurance company is only interested in settling claims for as little money as possible. The shipowner, insurance company, and your employer are not obligated to explain your legal rights or ensure that you’re treated fairly after an accident. As your attorney, we work for you—and only you. We explain every step of the process, so you understand what’s going on and what will happen next.
- Even the odds. Your employer and its insurance company might seem sympathetic after an accident, but they have teams of attorneys fighting to protect their profits. Victims are already out of their depth when filing injury claims and paying bills while they wait for an insurance payout, let alone navigating a complex legal system. When you hire a lawyer, you won’t have to question whether you did everything possible to get what you were owed.
- Accurately calculate your losses. Injury victims don’t have enough experience with maritime accident claims to know how much they should sue for damages. Our legal team relies on recent jury verdicts, vocational experts, and other professionals to determine how much compensation you should request and how much a jury would be likely to award if you go to trial.
- Protect your future. Insurance companies might send injured seamen a settlement offer within weeks or even days of the injury. Victims don’t know that the first offer is usually a lowball offer because insurers expect a negotiation. If you accept the “starting” offer—or ANY offer—you lose the right to sue for any more losses related to the accident. If you find out that you need expensive medical treatment or cannot return to your previous job after signing a settlement agreement, you will have to pay those costs yourself.
- Prepare the case for court. We handle all of the administration in your claim, including filing suit, meeting submission deadlines, and attending court hearings over the course of the cases. We also prepare you to give your deposition and take sworn depositions of critical witnesses (such as crew members, shipowners, and doctors) to prove your damages and the event that caused your injury.
Let Our Jones Act Lawyers Explain Your Options
In addition to taking injury cases on a contingency-fee basis, the maritime attorneys at Hofmann & Schweitzer offer free consultations to discuss the circumstances of your accident and explain your legal options. Call us at 1-800-3-MAY-DAY or fill out our online contact form to speak to an attorney or learn more about your claim in our complimentary guide, Are You a Seaman Injured in a Maritime Accident? Know Your Rights.