In a contingency fee arrangement, the attorney takes a percentage of the recovery amount, usually between 20 to 50 percent. For example, suppose the lawyer agreed to a 20 percent share. If the settlement amount is $100,000, they will receive $20,000 as an attorney’s fee. However, in some instances, the lawyer may accept a reduced contingency fee.
States passed legislation to prevent excessive legal fees and costs. Rule 4-1.5 of the Florida Court Rules and Rule 1.5 of the Tennessee Court Rules are examples of these laws. Rule 4-1.5 prohibits lawyers from demanding unconscionable amounts from clients. Moreover, Rule 1.5 requires a contingency fee arrangement to be in writing and with the client’s signature.
These guidelines provide the professional conduct that lawyers must observe when entering a contingency fee arrangement. They allow a plaintiff to still receive a considerable amount from their personal injury case. Hire the legal services of an attorney, so you can receive the compensation you deserve.
Benefits of a Contingency Fee Agreement
Signing a contingency fee arrangement entails no up-front costs, which reduces your financial risk. Moreover, you can negotiate the legal fees with your lawyer. The nature of this agreement motivates the lawyer to work hard and assures that you have a valid claim. It even provides fair opportunities to the parties.
No up-front costs
A contingency fee agreement allows you to pursue a personal injury case even if you do not have money to pay an attorney’s upfront costs. Law firms can charge $100 to more than $1,000 per hour. Some firms may also require retainer fees, ranging from $500 to more than $5,000.
Aside from the hourly fee of a personal injury attorney, you may also pay out-of-pocket fees. For example, California requires a court filing fee of $402 for civil cases. Court costs may also include payment for serving complaints, summons, and subpoenas.
You may also pay expert witness fees of almost $500 per hour. Most cases also entail investigation costs to uncover evidence supporting your case. Suppose you enter an arbitration agreement. You must also pay case management and filing fees.
Fortunately, a contingency fee contract allows you to cover these legal fees and temporarily set aside the payment for an attorney’s legal services.
Negotiable legal fees
You can negotiate the legal fees with your lawyer, especially if your case involves interesting facts and issues. Successful handling of novel cases can positively impact a law firm’s reputation, which may motivate them to accept a lower fee.
Some attorneys even offer a hybrid contingency fee where they accept an hourly fee less than the standard fee and a reduction in the contingency fee. But in a pure contingency fee agreement, the attorney only receives a percentage of the recovery amount.
To protect clients, Rule 4-1.5 of the Florida Court Rules requires the contingent fee agreement to state the reduction of costs. The lawyer must also include in the contract whether they will deduct the costs before or after the computation of the contingency fee.
In traditional billing methods requiring hourly rates and retainer fees, you will pay up to thousands of dollars without a guarantee of recovery. It is a risky move because you might lose a large amount of money if the court does not award damages.
In contrast, a contingency fee arrangement involves reduced risk for plaintiffs. Your personal injury attorney will only get paid if you win or settle the case. You do not have to pay up to thousands of dollars for a lawyer to represent your case. Through this agreement, you will only cover administrative and court costs.
Extra motivation for the lawyer
The legal industry usually refers to the contingency fee contract as a “no win, no fee” agreement. Consequently, lawyers on a contingency fee basis will work harder since they will only get paid if they successfully represent the case. Since they have a vested interest in the case’s outcome, they will ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your injuries.
Assurance of valid claim
It is unusual for an attorney to present a case the court will most likely dismiss. Moreover, the lawyer will carefully review the facts of your case to determine if you can receive a fair settlement. Hence, your personal injury claim may be meritorious if a law firm agrees to a contingency fee.
Level playing field against wealthy parties
Wealthy parties, such as big businesses, may use their financial strength to their advantage. Conversely, the costs of legal proceedings might burden the plaintiffs and stop them from pursuing a case against wealthy opponents. Moreover, paying up-front and hourly fees may work to the plaintiff’s disadvantage, especially if the case drags on.
In most cases, the injured party may sign an unfair settlement to avoid a lengthy and expensive process. A contingency fee agreement seeks to avoid this problem. It allows individuals to get the legal help they deserve without worrying about costly up-front fees. Thus, anyone can institute a case, even against wealthy individuals and companies.
Hiring a Lawyer on Contingency
You can find a lawyer on contingency by asking friends and relatives for referrals. You can also search the internet using the keywords “contingency lawyers near me” or check out attorney referral services like The Personal Injury Center.
Once you have your list of potential lawyers, choose at least three to interview. Collect documents and remember key details about your case to prepare for the initial consultations. For example, you can bring the police and medical reports. These documents help the attorney understand the facts of your case.
Ask the attorney about their experience handling similar cases. You can also request a sample fee agreement to compare contracts with other lawyers. Make sure to consider their track record and years of experience.
It also helps to observe their attitude. It can show the possible attorney-client relationship between the two of you. For instance, if they frequently do other things while talking to you, they may not give your case the attention it deserves. In contrast, a lawyer who gives their undivided attention during the consultation will likely work hard to build a strong case.
Legal Services by a Lawyer on Contingency
An attorney on contingency may provide the following legal services:
- Document preparation
- Client representation
During consultations, a contingency fee attorney will give legal advice and information regarding your case. They will explain the process of recovering compensation to set your expectations in the succeeding weeks. Moreover, they will explain the applicable statutes, so you can better understand your rights.
They will also prepare documents like pleadings, motions, expert testimony, and memoranda. They will adhere to the appropriate rules of civil procedure and ensure all documents are submitted correctly.
For instance, your lawyer must follow the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure when writing pleadings. Rule 8 contains the general rules, while Rule 10 provides the form of pleadings.
Lawyers also provide legal representation in mediation or court hearings. They will argue with the defense attorney, cross-examine witnesses, and convince the jury to rule in your favor. Moreover, lawyers can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to obtain the maximum payout.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
Common cases covered by personal injury law include motor vehicle accidents, product liability claims, dog attacks, medical malpractice, and wrongful death.
Motor vehicle accidents
The common causes of motor vehicle accidents involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, and pedestrians include the following:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
- Dangerous road conditions
In 2021, 3,522 people died due to distracted driving. Inattentive driving often involves using a cell phone while operating a vehicle. Thus, drivers should not engage in other activities while driving since they can lose control of their vehicle and cause an accident.
Drunk driving is another major cause of motor vehicle accidents. In 2020, it claimed the lives of 11,654 people. Someone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent may experience poor muscle coordination and loss of speed control. Likewise, drivers with a BAC of 0.10 percent may have difficulty stepping on the brakes.
Other auto accidents happen due to dangerous road conditions. For instance, potholes can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle. Slippery roads can result in vehicles sliding off the roadways.
Motor vehicle accidents can cause devastating injuries. Car accident victims may suffer from facial injuries, broken bones, organ damage, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and emotional distress.
Product liability cases
The product liability doctrine allows consumers to file a claim against negligent manufacturers. For instance, Johnson & Johnson proposes paying $8.9 in a settlement because of their talcum powder. More than 60,000 parties filed cases against J&J. The plaintiffs alleged that the company’s talc powder could cause ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.
Juul also entered a $7.9 million settlement with West Virginia over unfair and deceptive advertising claims. According to the Attorney General of West Virginia, the company misrepresented its products’ nicotine strength. Moreover, it downplayed Juul Pod’s risks of addiction.
In another case, a jury ordered General Motors to pay $102.6 million due to an engine defect that affected thousands of SUVs and trucks. The California jury found that GM hid the flaw from its customers. According to the lawsuits, the engines used too much oil, causing significant damage to the vehicles.
Animal bites can cause disfigurement. For instance, the experience of a Texas college student. Two dogs attacked Jaqueline Durand, resulting in facial disfigurement and puncture wounds on her body.
Victims can also get life-threatening infections from dog bites, such as rabies and Capnocytophaga. An individual with rabies may experience fever, agitation, and partial paralysis. In contrast, Capnocytophaga’s symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, and muscle pain.
You could file a case against the owner if their dog attacked you. In states with a dog bite statute, the court might find the owner liable even if they did not act negligently. However, states with a one-bite rule require plaintiffs to prove that the owner knew their dog had a tendency to attack people.
In a medical malpractice case, you must establish that the medical professional owed you a duty. You must also prove that they violated that duty and that such breach caused your injury. Your lawyer must mention these elements in the complaint to have a cause of action against the negligent doctor.
In West Virginia, a man was paralyzed after spinal surgery. He proved that his neurosurgeon did not order a pre-surgical MRI. Moreover, the doctor did not use a surgical monitoring device. Hence, the jury awarded $17.2 million to the victim.
An Oregon man also sued a hospital for $43.5 million. He alleged that he had an accidental dural tear during a neurological procedure. Unfortunately, he experienced severe pain, worsening his condition the next day.
Family members and dependents could file a wrongful death case if they lost their loved ones due to another’s negligence. They can demand compensation for medical bills, lost wages, funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering. A lawyer on contingency can help you recover damages on behalf of your deceased loved ones.
Did you know?
Contingency fee arrangements exist in other countries, including Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and France. Moreover, a researcher found that contingency fee agreements date back to the 19th century.
Hire Personal Injury Lawyers on a Contingency
Do you plan to file a case but are worried about expensive attorney’s fees? You can pursue a personal injury case even without paying up-front fees by hiring an attorney on a contingency basis. These types of lawyers take on cases with reduced financial risk on your part. In addition, they can ensure that you have a valid claim against your opponent. For more information, visit The Personal Injury Center and book a free consultation with a contingency fee lawyer.
The Personal Injury Center can help you find attorneys on contingency. Tell us about your case, so we can match you with reliable personal injury lawyers.
FAQs on Attorney on Contingency
How does a pro bono lawyer differ from a lawyer on contingency?
A pro bono lawyer does not accept payment even if they win the case. Hence, they do not receive a part of the recovery amount. On the other hand, a lawyer on contingency will get paid up to 50 percent of the damages or settlement money should they win the case.
Can you enter a contingency fee agreement for all cases?
Most states, including Ohio, prohibit contingency fees in cases covered by family law. The state also forbids contingency fees for representing a defendant in a criminal case.
How long before you can receive a settlement check?
You can get the settlement proceeds within three to six weeks. The period already considers payment of legal fees and deduction of liens.