Most personal injury attorneys handle cases on a “contingency fee” basis. As you consider hiring an attorney and entering into a fee agreement, here are five basic things to know about a contingent fee.
- In a contingent fee arrangement, the lawyer agrees to accept a fixed percentage (often 1/3) of the recovery, which is the amount finally paid to the client.
- 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.
- A contingency fee is taken out of any recovery, whether recovery is achieved by settlement or civil judgment.
- 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.
Many lawyers 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. 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.