Many personal injury lawyers in Pennsylvania operate on a contingency fee arrangement based upon ethical considerations and to take a stand for the “average person” fighting an uphill battle against the big insurance companies. As you consider hiring an attorney and entering into a fee agreement, here are five basic things to know about a contingent fee.
#1. What is a Contingency Fee?
Contingency fees are a way for lawyers to be compensated for their legal services. Instead of a set hourly rate, the lawyer receives a percentage of the money awarded to their client if they win or settle This means that the lawyer only gets paid if they successfully represent the client, and the amount they receive is dependent on the outcome and phase of litigation.
#2. What Percentage Do Most Personal Injury Lawyers Take?
In a contingent fee arrangement, the lawyer agrees to accept a fixed percentage of the compensation they recover for their client. The amount that a personal injury lawyer may take may vary from attorney to attorney, but generally the contingency fee is around 30-33%. The Pennsylvania Bar prohibits attorneys from taking advantage of their clients by charging excessive contingency fees.
#3. When Does My Attorney Get Paid?
If you win the case, the lawyer's fee comes out of the money awarded to you. If you lose, neither you nor the lawyer will get any money, but you will not be required to pay your attorney for the work done on the case.
#4. Does It Matter If My Case Settles or Goes to Trial?
A contingency fee is taken out of any recovery, whether recovery is achieved by settlement or civil judgment.
#5. Who Pays for Case-Related Expenses Prior to Recovery?
Most contingent fee arrangements provide that the lawyer “advance” the costs of pursuing the case. The costs are then paid back to the lawyer out of any settlement or judgement, in addition to the lawyer's fee. That way, the client is not required to pay anything up front or out of pocket. The financial risk of a contingency fee arrangement falls on the lawyer. No recovery equals no fee.
Contact Us to Learn About Our Contingency Fee Agreement
At Metzger Wickersham, we take pride in helping people navigate the legal system through often difficult times in their lives. At the end of the day, the client always comes first, and we strive to obtain the best possible outcome for those we represent. If you have questions about a personal injury claim or have general questions about contingency fee arrangements, please contact one of the experienced personal injury attorneys at Metzger Wickersham.