A contingency fee is based (or “contingent”) upon the outcome of the attorney’s representation. In other words, the attorney will only receive a fee if the attorney’s representation leads to a financial recovery for the client.
Contingency fee representation is common in personal injury claims where victims are seeking money damages for injuries suffered from a car collision, medical negligence, work injury (worker’s compensation), etc.. Oftentimes, personal injury victims cannot afford an attorney to take on a corporation or insurance company. A contingency fee agreement helps level the playing field.
In a contingency fee agreement, the attorney agrees to take a certain percentage of the money recovered from the case. If you recover money, the attorney’s fee is deducted from that amount. That being said, if you lose your case, you are not obligated to pay your attorney a fee for their work on the case.
Contingency fee agreements are valuable in the personal injury arena. First, it incentivizes attorneys to pursue valid and worthwhile claims (as opposed to frivolous claims). Second, it also incentivizes attorneys to maximize the client’s recovery. Third, it provides an opportunity for injury victims to seek representation regardless of their financial status.
Contingency Fees Are Common For Personal Injury Claims
Many people who have never worked with a personal injury attorney are not aware that contingency fees are common in this area of the law. The reality is that contingency fees are only available in a few areas of law, mainly personal injury. Some of those areas include:
· Car accidents
· Medical negligence
· Workers compensation
· Defective product suits
· Animal attacks
· Motorcycle accidents
· Nursing home abuse
Contingency fees are not usually available for real estate or business litigation, and they are never available for the following cases:
· Trademark registration
· Criminal defense
· Business start-up
· Adoption cases
· Drafting wills or other legal documents
· Immigration cases
· Divorce and family law
Which Attorneys Offer Contingency Fee Representation?
Some attorneys do not offer contingency fee representation because of the risk that they will not receive a fee. The decision might reflect the attorney’s confidence in your case, but it might also reflect the attorney’s confidence is his/her ability to represent you.
Experienced personal injury attorneys commonly accept cases on a contingency fee basis.
What is a Standard Contingency Fee?
While there is not a standard contingency fee, a common contingency fee is one-third of recovery, but it can be higher if suit is filed, tried, and/or appealed. Attorneys must take into account not only their time, but also the amount of money the law firm will have to spend to cover the case. There are fees for mediation, court reporters, transcripts, expert witnesses, and filing fees. The law firm fronts these fees and there is no guarantee for recovery.
In Missouri worker’s compensation cases, the State of Missouri limits the attorney’s fee to 25% of recovery.
In Illinois worker’s compensation cases, the State of Illinois limits the attorney’s fee to 20% of recovery.
Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys
At the Lieser Law Firm, we offer free consultations and only accept personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis.
If you are considering hiring a personal injury attorney, you need to speak with an attorney that is experienced in that type of litigation.