Attorney Fee Awards in FDCPA Cases

Damage classification where FDCPA violations are concerned

The definition of damages is based on the classification of those damages where any FDCPA judgment in favor of the consumer is concerned. These typically fall into 4 separate categories as follows:

Actual damages – includes the actual physiological and psychological damages incurred by the consumer. There are 3 separate classifications where actual damages to the consumer are concerned including:

  • damages resulting from the collection agency representative’s or debt collector’s act of deliberately inflicting emotional distress on the consumer
  • monetary damages inclusive of attorney fees, long distance telephone charges, payments made on time-barred debt (statute of limitations)
  • stress-related emotional, mental, and physical damages and/or injuries

Emotional damages – these typically include:

  • insomnia and nightmares
  • emotional paralysis
  • embarrassment and the humiliation that results
  • crying and/or hysteria
  • anxiety, fear, guilt, nervousness, and worry

Statutory damages – up to $1,000 can be awarded to the consumer if they prove that the collection agency, collection attorney, or debt collector has violated the FDCPA laws. Despite the non-existence of any of the other types of damages, the violator can still be charged for those monetary damages awarded to the consumer.

Attorney’s fees – self-explanatory

How attorney’s fees are determined

There are typically three different methods that attorney’s determine how much to charge you when hiring their services. The fee schedule is usually associated with the type of case that they will be presenting for you in a federal or state court of law. These are:

Contingency basis – typical charged based on a personal injury case but can also be associated with entitlement cases such as civil rights, Social Security issues (SSDI or SSI), or Workmen’s Compensation. The attorney is paid a fee which is a percentage of the total monetary award.

Hourly basis – other than contingency issues (see above) and standard routine legal matters, most attorney’s fees are charged on an hourly basis. The amount the attorney charges you per hour will primarily be determined by former cases like your own. Another factor could be the generally billed fees for similar matters. Additionally, you will most likely have to pay your attorney a retainer fee.

Fixed fee basis – fixed fees typically apply to standard matters inclusive of:

  • the handling of deeds
  • drafting a contract
  • minor criminal matters
  • representing an individual with a simple bankruptcy case
  • real estate titles
  • traffic offenses
The following two tabs change content below.

Jonathan Ginsberg

For over 25 years, Jonathan Ginsberg has represented honest, hardworking men and women facing financial troubles.