What Does it Mean When a Personal Injury Lawyer Works On a Contingency Basis?

If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, hiring a personal injury attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve. But legal fees can be intimidating. This is where contingency fee agreements come in handy. When you hear that personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, what exactly does that mean, and how does it benefit you as the client?

You Don’t Pay Any Fees Upfront

The main perk of hiring a lawyer on contingency is that you don’t have to pay any upfront costs or hourly legal fees. There are no retainers or monthly bills. This eliminates the financial barriers that often prevent injured victims from pursuing legal action, allowing everyone access to justice.

Attorney Only Paid If You Win Or Settle

Here’s how it works – the attorney only gets paid if you successfully win your case in court or receive a settlement offer. Their fee is contingent on a positive outcome. If you lose the case outright, you don’t owe the lawyer anything at all for their services. The risk is on them.

Lawyer Takes a Percentage of Total Proceeds

Rather than being billed hourly or a flat rate, a contingency fee lawyer receives payment in the form of a pre-arranged percentage of the total settlement amount or court award. This percentage usually ranges from 25% to 40% depending on the complexity and duration of the case. Make sure you understand exactly what percentage the attorney will receive.

Incentivizes Maximum Settlement/Award

Because the lawyer’s payment is tied directly to the size of the settlement, they are incentivized to pursue the maximum damages possible and fight aggressively on your behalf. Their compensation increases the more they can recover for you.

Still Responsible for Case Expenses

It’s important to note that while you don’t pay upfront attorney’s fees, you are still responsible for reimbursing case-related expenses like court filing fees, medical evaluations, expert witness charges, etc. But the attorney’s compensation comes strictly as an agreed percentage of the final award or settlement.

Consult State Laws on Contingency Fees

Since contingency fee amounts can vary greatly, it’s wise to research your state’s laws which may place a cap on the maximum percentage attorneys can collect in these arrangements. This helps prevent abuse.

Provides Access to Skilled Legal Representation

Overall, contingency agreements remove financial roadblocks and allow anyone to obtain experienced legal representation, even if they cannot afford high hourly rates. This levels the playing field against big insurance companies and corporations.

Taking time to understand what contingency basis means enables you to make an informed choice when selecting legal counsel. If you have a strong personal injury case, hiring a lawyer on contingency is often your best path to getting the maximum compensation you deserve in the most risk-free way possible.

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