July 10, 2023

A Comprehensive Guide to Calculating Attorney Fees in Maritime Cases


As a trusted New Orleans Maritime Attorney, we, at the Cueria Law Firm LLC, believe in full transparency when it comes to discussing attorney fees. This is a crucial aspect to understand before entrusting your case to a maritime law firm. Here, we will delve deeper into how these fees are calculated, the factors involved, and how they differ from other legal areas.

Introduction to Attorney Fees

In the legal world, attorney fees are a standard part of the process. However, the way these fees are structured can vary greatly depending on the case type. As a New Orleans Maritime Attorney, our primary goal is to ensure that our clients understand the intricacies of these fees before they proceed with their maritime or Jones Act cases.

Fee Structures in Maritime Law

Maritime law firms typically charge a contingency fee, generally around 40% at the end of a client’s case. This means that the attorney’s payment is contingent upon winning the case. If no settlement is reached, the client doesn’t have to pay any fee, offering a risk-free proposition.

What Does Your Maritime Attorney Do for The Fee?

A maritime attorney performs a myriad of tasks to build a solid case for you. These include:

  • Filing your suit in court and attending all necessary court hearings.
  • Providing exclusive access to a ‘Client Only’ video portal that explains the case process.
  • Preparing you for your deposition.
  • Working with top experts to prove your damages.
  • Negotiating the best possible settlement offers.
  • Proceeding to trial if a reasonable settlement can’t be achieved.

The ‘No Win, No Fee’ Approach

Unlike company-hired attorneys who charge hourly, maritime attorneys pay for all case-related expenses upfront. This includes court costs, expert fees, deposition costs, client travel, medical reports, and much more. If the case doesn’t settle, the attorney absorbs these costs.

Why Maritime Cases Have Different Fees?

Car accident cases typically garner a 33.3% attorney fee, while maritime cases demand a slightly higher 40% fee. The reasons for this discrepancy lie in the complexity of the cases. Maritime law is specialized and requires a deeper understanding and more extensive work than standard car accident cases.

Can You Hire a Maritime Attorney for Less?

While it’s possible to find attorneys who offer lower fees, it’s essential to understand that expertise should not be compromised for cost. The value brought by an experienced maritime attorney can significantly impact your case’s success and the amount of compensation received.

Beware of ‘Escalating Fees’

Some attorneys charge escalating fees, which increase as they invest more work into your case. As a trusted New Orleans Maritime Attorney, our fee structure is simple and flat, ensuring no surprise costs for our clients.

Is Cheaper Actually Better?

Choosing a cheaper attorney might seem appealing, but it could lead to subpar results. An experienced maritime attorney brings invaluable knowledge and expertise that can greatly affect your case’s outcome. So, it is recommended to focus on quality more than cost when choosing an attorney.

Recovering Attorney Fees in Admiralty Litigation

While the general rule in admiralty cases is that the prevailing party cannot recover attorneys’ fees, there are exceptions. For example, the parties can agree in a contract that the prevailing party can recover attorneys’ fees in the event of a dispute.

Calculating Attorney Fees: The Lodestar Method

The fee amount in maritime cases can be calculated using the ‘lodestar method.’ This entails multiplying the number of hours an attorney has worked on a case by their reasonable hourly rates. The resulting amount can then be adjusted based on various factors like case complexity, skill level, and experience of attorneys.

In conclusion, understanding how attorney fees are calculated in maritime cases can help you make more informed decisions when hiring an attorney. As an experienced New Orleans Maritime Attorney, we are here to guide you through this complex process and ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

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