While some lawyers need retainers and bill by the hour, the majority of personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee arrangement. This means that these lawyers are only compensated if the injured party wins or settles their personal injury litigation and receives a monetary judgment. In that instance, the attorney is entitled to a predetermined percentage agreed upon by both the client and the attorney.
Obtaining legal help is one of the most brilliant things you can do after finding yourself among the millions of Americans injured every year in an unintentional way that comes with a visit to the emergency room. Furthermore, understanding how your attorney’s contingency fee structure works helps put you at ease during your case. Visit https://www.gallagherkennedyinjury.com/ to learn more about the contingency fee and how it benefits the victims.
This article will look at the 6 things you need to know about the contingency fee structure.
1. Should I Have a Lawyer Represent Me on a Contingency Fee Basis?
Contingency fee agreements can be beneficial if you have a solid legal claim but cannot afford the upfront costs of litigation. However, keep in mind that attorneys are not required to charge a contingency fee. An experienced lawyer can advise you on your alternatives if you think you have a case and want to go to trial.
To fully understand how the costs will be handled and how much you agree to pay, you should, however, discuss all your cost options with your lawyer. Ensuring you understand your attorney’s contingency fee arrangement will put your mind at ease during your case.
2. When are Contingency Fee Agreements Used?
Contingency fees are helpful when a client is short on finances yet has a costly or complicated case. Civil litigation attorneys often accept situations with apparent responsibility and a way to collect a settlement, such as through a defendant’s insurance coverage. However, if the fault is unclear or the case is deemed too hazardous, the attorney may decline to accept the case, even on a contingency basis.
Contingency fee agreements are most commonly utilized in civil disputes such as personal injury and workers’ compensation, although attorneys may accept work on a contingency basis in other situations, such as:
- Personal Injury
- Professional Malpractice
- Employment Discrimination and Wage Dispute Cases
- Sexual Harassment
- Class Action Lawsuits
- Debt Collection Cases
3. When are Contingency Fee Agreements Not Allowed?
Contingency fee arrangements might be beneficial in some situations, particularly when a client requires financial support. They are, nevertheless, illegal in some circumstances. If the case has a foregone conclusion, the lawyer should charge the client a reasonable fee depending on the amount of labor that will be put into the claim.
Additionally, professional ethics rules forbid lawyers from taking matters in family law or criminal law on a contingency basis because doing so looks to support, if not encourage, divorce or criminal activity. Contingency fees may also be forbidden in immigration and bankruptcy cases and when drafting contracts, wills, trusts, or other legal instruments, depending on your state’s regulations.
4. What are the Advantages of Using Contingency Fees?
Clients benefit from contingent fee contracts in numerous ways:
- There aren’t any upfront expenses. One important advantage of using a contingency fee arrangement is that you avoid having to pay your attorney in advance or incur considerable legal costs while your case is pending. Many people think that this gives people with lower incomes better access to legal aid and the legal system.
- You can be sure that your lawyer will put forth a valiant effort on your behalf. If they don’t get paid unless you get rewarded, your lawyer will be extremely motivated to exert every effort to produce the finest outcome.
- There are no penalties for losses. Another benefit of having a contingency fee arrangement is that if the case does not go as planned, you will not have to pay a hefty attorney’s fee (though you may still be responsible for some administrative costs). This may give some people peace of mind—if the lawyer is ready to risk not being paid for the work they put in, you probably have a strong chance of winning your case.
5. What are the Disadvantages of Using Contingency Fees?
Of course, like with anything, contingency fees have certain drawbacks. A contingency fee arrangement may cost you more than a standard hourly rate. Once you agree on a contingency fee, you owe the agreed-upon percentage regardless of how long the case takes—a year or a week. This is especially true in straightforward scenarios that may only necessitate a few phone calls and a couple of hours of labor to resolve. Before making a choice, consult with your attorney about your options. Depending on the outcome of your case, some attorneys may provide a flexible contingency fee.
Additionally, when attorneys work on a contingency basis, they may be more selective in the cases they accept. They may aim to avoid matters that they do not believe will be easy wins, or they may negotiate higher fees for “riskier” situations.
6. How Much Can a Lawyer Take in Contingency Fees?
Several factors can influence the amount of the contingency fee. Regarding fee structures, some lawyers have different levels or tiers, and the contingency fee can vary depending on the nature of the case. Contingency costs are roughly 33%-40% of the ultimate award. However, this might vary depending on the case size and the client’s agreement.
Having a written copy of your fee agreement is always a good idea, so you know exactly what the fee arrangement comprises and how much you agreed to pay.
If you believe you have been hurt as a result of someone else’s negligence, you should talk with an experienced personal injury attorney to explore your case and your chances at trial. There are time constraints on filing a personal injury claim, so contact a lawyer now for a free consultation to learn more about your options.