You may have heard that personal injury lawyers will take cases on a contingency fee basis. But what does that mean? A contingency fee is the amount a lawyer receives when a case is successfully settled or won after trial. When you’ve been injured due to someone’s negligence, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Contingency fee agreements allow everyone access to the justice system even if they can’t afford to pay for a lawyer.
How does a Contingency Fee Work?
Contingency fee arrangements can seem too good to be true, but in these cases the lawyer takes on any risk that a case will be not be successful and pays all case-related expenses up front. Upon a successful resolution of a case, clients may have to reimburse the lawyer for these expenses. Case-related expenses may include filing fees, deposition expenses, and costs paid to expert witnesses. For example, if a lawyer wins a settlement of $100,000 in a case where the contingency fee agreement calls for a 33 1/3% fee to the lawyer, the lawyer would receive $33,333.33. If the lawyer incurred $2,000 in case-related expenses, that amount might be subtracted from the remaining settlement to the client. If the case is not successful, the lawyer is out the expenses and hours he or she put into the case while the client isn’t out anything.
The amount of a contingency fee will depend on a number of different factors. Most contingency fees in Florida are around 33 1/3% if the case settles before a lawsuit is filed and 40% if a lawsuit is filed. The amount may also depend on the complexity of the case, the nature of the injuries, and the needs of the client.
Contingency fee agreements should always be in writing and should specifically spell out the amount of the contingency, which expenses may be deducted from the recovery, and when the expenses will be deducted.
Advantages of a Contingency Fee Arrangement
Contingency fee arrangements provide a number advantages. A lawyer in a contingency case has the incentive to only take on cases that have a reasonable chance of success. If paid at an hourly rate, a lawyer might agree to take a case regardless of its merit and just collect their fees throughout the process. When a lawyer takes a case on a contingency basis, the interests of the lawyer and the client are closely aligned. A lawyer has a huge incentive to win your case because if he or she doesn’t, there is no payment for the many hours spent working on the case. As a result, a lawyer will work hard for his or her client to resolve the case quickly and for the most money. A contingency fee arrangement gives the average injured person a fighting chance against large corporations and insurance companies.
Contact a Trusted Attorney
If you’ve been injured due to someone’s negligence, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-753-5203 to schedule your free consultation.