In February 2018, a devastating school bus accident left young Sariah Johnson paralyzed from the shoulders down. Her mother, Shamika, turned to the services of a personal injury law firm — which has been left unnamed at this time — to seek compensation for the accident. The attorneys were able to secure a $7.2 million settlement for the Johnsons.
However, Shamika is now saying the law firm is expected more than $2 million of that settlement in attorney fees, which she believes to be “excessive.” Her own uncle, who has a background as a legal professional, has intervened with a motion of intervention. The motion could convince a judge to allow the renegotiation of attorney fees.
Is the $2+ million expected by the unnamed law firm excessive, though? KMOV4, a local Missouri CBS affiliate, came to Attorney Geoff Meyerkord of Meyerkord, Meyerkord & Kurth in St. Louis to learn more about attorney fee regulations in Missouri.
Attorney Meyerkord, who is not affiliated with the Johnson school bus accident case, explained that Missouri does not have any strict caps on attorney fees. Instead, clients are encouraged to carefully negotiate fees before retaining an attorney.
In a personal injury case, an attorney charges contingency fees. A contingency fee agreement states the acting lawyer will only receive attorney fees if they win a settlement or verdict, and that the amount received is calculated using a percent of the total winnings. Attorney Geoff Meyerkord explained in his interview that most contingency fee percentages go no higher than 33%. According to the Johnson’s statements, the approximate $2 million in attorney fees for the school bus accident case ranges at about 30% of the $7.2 million secured in the settlement.
Would you like to know more about this ongoing story? You can click here to view the full KMOV4 article. To help support the Johnsons in providing for little Sariah, please visit their GoFundMe campaign. To learn more about Meyerkord & Merykord, LLC, or to retain the services of our St. Louis personal injury lawyers for a case of your own, contact us at (800) 391-4318 at any time. We would be happy to discuss our services and what you can expect from your case, including setting a fair attorney fee agreement.