When an accident results in injury, working with a lawyer on a contingency basis will eliminate upfront retainer fees and hourly fees and ensure you don’t pay a legal fee unless you win.
The Advantages of Contingency Fees
When a legal claim is handled on a contingency basis, a client pays no legal fees unless the lawyer successfully wins or settles the case. Contingency fees are commonly used by accident lawyers in civil matters such as personal injury cases and workers’ compensation cases when a client is seeking monetary damages. They are not used in family law and criminal cases where monetary awards are not the main objective of the case.
Working on a contingency basis reduces legal costs for a client since there are no retainer fees or upfront charges. If the case is resolved successfully, the client pays the lawyer a percentage of the dollar amount awarded by the court. This means that many people who can’t afford legal help can seek recourse for their injuries without worrying about legal expenses.
When a person suffers injuries caused by another person or a work-related accident, he/she often faces mounting medical bills and loss of income from necessary recuperation time. With limited resources, many injury victims attempt to file claims on their own, but face obstacles from insurance companies and claims adjusters who offer small settlement payments or deny the claim. Working with an accident lawyer on a contingency basis levels the playing field, because contingency arrangements indicate a strong case.
During an initial consultation, the lawyer will review important details to form a professional opinion of the case:
- Nature and severity of the injury
- How the injury occurred
- Was the injury caused by negligence
- Impact of injury on the victim’s income and lifestyle
- Value of injury and losses
- Victim’s insurance coverage
After reviewing case facts. the lawyer will determine the strength of the personal injury lawsuit. If the lawyer agrees to take the case on a contingency basis, he/she likely foresees a favorable outcome. Typically, lawyers don’t take cases on contingency unless they think they can win the case.
Generally, contingency fees are approximately one-third of the total amount of compensation awarded by the court, however, the percentage may be higher or lower. If the lawyer wins the case, his/her legal fee comes out of the total money awarded. Whether the case is won or lost, the client will likely be responsible for court filing fees, costs for deposing witnesses, and out-of-pocket costs.