A client facing a personal injury case may worry about affording attorney’s fees. Luckily, most personal injury attorneys provide services to clients on a contingency fee basis. This resource will explore what contingency fees are, how they work, how they are calculated, and why they can be helpful in personal injury cases.
What Is a Contingency Fee?
A contingency fee is a payment arrangement between you and your attorney that is commonly used in personal injury cases. Unlike traditional hourly billing, where you pay your attorney by the hour, a contingency fee gives the attorney a fixed percentage of the damages or settlement from your case.
Contingency fees are helpful in cases where an individual cannot afford to hire a lawyer but has a valid claim with a likely recovery. A client may be able to retain an attorney on a contingent fee basis, paying legal costs and fees only when the case is won or a settlement is obtained.
How Do Contingency Fees Work?
A contingency fee agreement must be documented in writing and signed by the client. The agreement should clearly notify the client of any expenses for which the client is responsible. At the end of the case, the lawyer must give the client a written statement of the outcome.
Contingency fees typically do not include additional expenses beyond attorney’s fees. These additional expenses can consist of filing fees, expert witness fees, travel expenses, and costs associated with copying documents. The client might still be responsible for these costs, regardless of whether they win or lose. It’s important to discuss this with your attorney before hiring them to manage your expectations.
Here’s a breakdown of the key elements of a contingency fee arrangement:
No Upfront Costs
With a contingency fee, the client does not need to worry about paying their attorney upfront. This can be especially beneficial for clients with limited resources, who may not have legal budgets or lawyers on retainer. With a contingency fee, your attorney only gets paid if they successfully obtain a settlement or a judgment in your favor at trial.
Contingency fees align your attorney’s interests with yours. Since they only get paid when you win, they have a strong incentive to work diligently and effectively on your behalf. This arrangement can be reassuring, knowing that your attorney is invested in securing the best possible outcome for your case.
Potential Additional Expenses
While you won’t be responsible for attorney’s fees if your case doesn’t succeed, it’s important to understand that you may still be responsible for certain case-related costs and expenses. These can include court filing fees, expert witness fees, and medical record retrieval costs. Your attorney will discuss these expenses with you and explain how they will be handled.
The benefits of contingency fees make this fee arrangement an attractive option for individual clients.
How Are Contingency Fees Calculated?
Contingency fees are calculated as a percentage of the compensation you receive when your case is successfully resolved. The specific percentage is agreed upon between you and your attorney at the beginning of your legal journey. Typically, the fee ranges from one-third to 40 percent of the total recovery.
Several factors can impact the amount of the contingency fee, including:
- The time, labor, and skill required
- The likelihood that taking on the client can prevent the lawyer from taking on other clients
- The fee that lawyers in that area typically charge for similar legal services
- The amount of the potential recovery for the claim
- The time limitations imposed by the client or by the circumstances
- The nature and length of the professional relationship with the client
- The reputation and specialized skills of the lawyer
Remember, the contingency fee arrangement is designed to make legal representation accessible, allowing you to pursue justice without upfront costs. Your attorney will discuss all fee details with you upfront to ensure transparency and clarity throughout your case.
Contingency Fees in Florida Personal Injury Cases
Contingency fees work very well in personal injury cases. In personal injury law, clients often pursue compensation for injuries sustained due to someone else’s negligence. Common personal injury cases involve car accidents, slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice, and more.
Many individuals with a valid personal injury claim do not bring those claims because they don’t have a legal budget or a lawyer on retainer. However, individuals should not feel discouraged from pursuing recovery because of the fees. Contingency fees are a practical choice for individuals in these situations because they allow access to legal representation without the burden of upfront costs. Contact Payer Personal Injury Lawyers at (407) 648-1510 to schedule a free consultation today.