Many personal injury victims may be fearful of dealing with a lawyer because they do not have the means to pay for legal services. This does not have be the case if you retain a lawyer who works on a contingency fee basis, which means he or she agrees to not charge any upfront fees unless you win.
The West Palm Beach personal injury lawyers at our firm explain how contingency fee lawyers can provide a great avenue to the justice system and certain downsides you should know about. We also help ensure access to legal representation with no fees or costs unless we help you obtain a recovery. If the case is won, our fee is a percentage of your settlement or verdict.
Understanding a Contingency Fee Arrangement
A contingency fee arrangement is made between you and your lawyer stating that he or she will provide legal services at no upfront cost until compensation is recovered on your behalf. If your lawyer is successful in obtaining compensation for your claim, then he or she receives a fee from the amount you are awarded. This is typically a percentage of the recovery.
Most personal injury lawyers will not take a case on contingency unless they know they can achieve a favorable outcome. While it may seem like a high risk for the lawyer to take on, the reward per case can be significant. If your lawyer is unable to obtain a recovery for you, you are not obligated to pay any lawyer fees. However, you may still need to pay certain court fees.
Pros of Using Contingency Fees
An advantage for injury victims is that those without the financial means to retain a lawyer could still make a claim for compensation. If the case is not won, you would not owe for your lawyer’s services. Contingency fees are generally paid out of the amount awarded once the case is won, rather than having to pay up front. This allows you to get the legal help you need without paying out-of-pocket.
Not winning the case means that your lawyer will not receive payment, which is why he or she will be driven to work hard to ensure that the outcome is favorable.
Cons of Using Contingency Fees
Working with a lawyer on a contingency fee basis means he or she will receive the agreed upon percentage of recovery, regardless of how long the legal process takes or how much time is needed to resolve the case. If a claim is resolved quickly, contingency fees may be higher than hourly fees, if the lawyer was paid an hourly rate.
Another downside is that lawyers may be selective in the cases they choose to take on. If a lawyer decides there is a lot of work to do on the case or it seems like an uncertain win, he or she may avoid accepting it.
Standard Contingency Fee for a Lawyer
Having a contingency fee agreement with a lawyer helps motivate him or her to achieve a favorable outcome and keep costs low, which would help you obtain more in compensation.
The contingency fee is a percentage usually agreed upon in advance, based on the following factors:
- Number of hours worked and effort needed to win the case
- Likelihood that someone is legally liable for your damages
- Risk that you may be held liable for contributing or causing injury
- Probability that the case will be won
The contingency fee percentage can be lower in a quick settlement or mediation, or higher when it is absolutely necessary to go to trial. The more legal resources required, the higher the payment amount.
The standard contingency fee for a lawyer typically averages about 33 and one-third percent if the case settles prior to trial and up to 40 percent if the case does involve a lengthy trial.
Reach Out for Legal Help Today
If you are having legal trouble and need a lawyer, contact Gordon & Partners as soon as possible. Since 1993 we have experience helping pursue maximum compensation for our clients, recovering millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts.