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Home ► Blog ► What is a Contingency Fee? Civil Litigation Fee Agreements Explained
A contingency fee is a payment made to an attorney that is contingent upon the attorney recovering compensation for his or her client in court. This means payment for an attorney’s service only occurs when the client receives monetary gain through winning or settling his or her personal injury case. The following will explain what is a contingency fee exactly and how can a contingency fee be advantageous for a client.
In most cases and lawsuits, clients provide compensation to attorneys for their legal services. While this fee-for-service protocol is set in a standard business model, it does not always account for the realities of the legal system. Some clients might be in need of representation without the means to pay. Some cases might seem risky, leaving the possibility the client wastes money without compensation. This is why contingency fees exist.
A contingency fee is a payment that a client only makes to an attorney when the client receives monetary gain in court. In personal injury cases, this means that the payment to the attorney is entirely contingent upon the client receiving some sort of monetary recovery by winning the case at trial or the case settling. This helps ensure that the client can pay for the services and that the client is not wasting his or her money.
Contingency fees are especially helpful in instances where a client is injured and in need of legal representation but cannot financially cover attorney costs. Say you are injured in a car accident, you slip and fall, or you’re a victim of battery or assault — any incident that causes you harm could mean you need legal representation. Without the funds for an experienced personal injury lawyer, you would be out of luck. Contingency fees foster a legally bound client and attorney agreement that ensures representation and compensation exist.
A contingency fee provides many advantages for clients. In turn, lawyers receive a portion of the recovery compensation. Prior to the case, clients and attorneys work together to agree upon the percentage of recovery money the attorney will receive.
The amount a personal injury lawyer receives with contingency fee agreements changes case to case, and it is dependent on many different factors. It often comes down to the complexity and risk involved with a case and who is paying for litigation costs and when. While the percentage is not always the same, it is often around 40% of the recovery costs.
Typically, there are two types of contingency fee agreements made between attorneys and their clients — contingency hourly agreements and mixed hourly contingent agreements.
Court and Filing Fees
All court cases come with fees. For example, filing a complaint in federal court costs around $400.
Some personal injury lawsuits require expert witnesses at the trial to review the case, prepare a report, and testify. Expert witnesses charge high fees — often a few thousand dollars.
Evidence such as medical records and public document copies is not always free to obtain.
Many cases require a “discovery phase” that can involve paid court reporters, insurance reports, deposition transcripts, and several hours of interrogations.
Contingency fee agreements can be especially effective for those filing any type of personal injury lawsuits. Personal injury lawsuits cover many compensatory damages. If you have suffered damages monetarily, physically, or mentally and are considering a personal injury lawsuit, a contingency agreement can be the best method to guarantee financial gain.
At TorHoerman Law, personal injury is a large focus of our practice. Our personal injury lawsuit legal team will ensure you have the best representation to receive compensation for your injury. If you have any questions or were injured in an accident, contact us for a free consultation. We are here to help.
“When You Need a Lawyer.” American Bar Association, www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_issues_for_consumers/lawyerfees_contingent/.
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