Contingency Fees in Personal Injury Cases
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys remain committed to helping injured victims receive the legal representation they need when seeking justice and financial compensation to recover their damages. Our personal injury lawyers represented thousands of clients to resolve their personal injury claims and will fight to protect you too.
Providing quality representation for accident victims remains our law firm's goal. We accept all personal injury cases through contingency fee arrangements to ensure that every victim gets the compensation they deserve. Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation.
Unlike criminal attorneys to get paid by the hour, personal injury lawyers work for a percentage of what they win or settle for their clients on contingency. Contingent fee arrangements specify that the personal injury lawyer gets paid only if their client recovers their damages.
A contingency fee agreement avoids the need for the client to pay for all costs, expenses, and fees out of pocket while the case is being resolved. In that scenario, if no financial compensation is received, the victim could lose thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars if their case fails.
With a contingency fee agreement, the injured victim has no upfront charge for their legal services and never pays for out-of-pocket expenses. The contingency fee for this arrangement is covered by the negotiated settlement or jury verdict. If you lose your case, you owe the attorney nothing.
How Your Legal Fees Are Paid
Hiring a lawyer on a contingency fee basis means that they work for a percentage of the settlement, jury award, or verdict instead of an hourly charge. A typical contingency fee arrangement specifies that the attorney gets paid only if the injured victim (their client) recovers damages.
The fee agreement ensures that there are no upfront charges for legal services and the victim never pays out-of-pocket while the personal injury case is being built, presented, and resolved. Instead, the contingency fee will be paid from the financial compensation the lawyer recovers on the victim's behalf.
In cases where the lawsuit is resolved through a negotiated settlement, and the defendant or their insurance company pays the agreed amount, the victim's lawyer will deduct the contingency fees from the total amount.
What If the Case Goes to Trial?
In cases that go to trial, the personal injury lawyer represents their client in court, presenting evidence to the judge and jury. Once the case is decided through a jury award or verdict in the victim's favor, the attorney will deduct the contingency fee from the judgment once it is paid.
In lawsuits where the jury decides in the defendant's favor, and no judgment is awarded, the contingency fee agreement states specifically that the victim does not pay the attorney their legal fees for any work building the case, presenting the evidence, or attempting a negotiated agreement settlement. Instead, the attorney only gets paid after recovering compensation.
Personal injury attorneys use contingency fee agreements in various civil cases, including car accidents, workers' compensation, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, harmful medications, defective products, premises liability, wrongful death, etc. However, a contingency fee arrangement is not used in criminal cases or family law.
An Incentive to Negotiate the Best Settlement
Hiring a lawyer who will take a personal injury case on a contingency fee basis ensures that they have "skin in the game." In addition, contingent fees work as an effective incentive when the law firm does that if they cannot win the personal injury case, they are paid nothing for their time.
Any injured victim harmed by someone else's negligence or intentional acts can immediately hire legal representation, knowing that the lawyer fees are postponed until the case is resolved in their favor.
Working on contingency allows the law firm to build the case toward a negotiated settlement or trial without concern that the injured victim cannot pay the bill for the hundreds of hours likely required to resolve a complicated case.
A Contingency Fee Basis Means No Money Upfront
Injured victims must know upfront how the cost structure works in their case, spelled out precisely in the contingency fee arrangement. Our legal team knows that a client with limited resources should not receive limited results.
Contingency fees work to benefit both the victim and the attorney whose monetary interest aligns with their client's interests. In addition, contingency fees provide an affordable opportunity for individuals who cannot afford to hire an attorney based on their hourly rate to pursue a personal injury case.
In other law practice areas, like criminal cases and family law, the client hires the lawyer to perform legal work based on a set hourly rate. However, in many cases, the law firm demands a retainer where the client pays upfront to get their case started.
Paying a retainer can limit the amount of work that the law firm will do. Once the retainer is spent, or the client cannot continue paying the legal bill, the attorney could stop their representation, requiring that the client switch lawyers. Alternatively, contingency fees ensure that they'll continue to provide representation once the lawyer accepts the case until the claim is resolved.
Pay Attorney's Fees From the Settlement
Additionally, having the contingency fee paid after the lawsuit is resolved allows the client to have their case evaluated by the attorney at no cost. Typically, claim evaluations are costly, and many injured parties do not have the financial resources to determine if they have a case to receive the compensation they deserve.
Most successful personal injury lawyers have the training and experience necessary to understand the case's value, based on its strengths and weaknesses. A contingency fee arrangement provides an opportunity for a lawyer's consultation at no cost.
Contingency Fee Agreements
During an initial consultation, you will likely be asked to sign a contingency fee agreement that outlines the costs of legal counseling, representation, and services. The lawyer will also discuss all other costs and expenses that arise in resolving a claim.
Typically, the agreement outlines all costs covered in the arrangement and those that are not. Usually, the agreement is based on the case's facts and your injuries, damages, and legal situation. In nearly all cases, the client will not pay any upfront expenses.
The lawyer will likely discuss what's included in the fee agreement that might involve:
- Certified records expenses. The lawyer will pay for official copies of certified records needed to build your compensation case.
- Expert analysis. Many complicated personal injury cases require experts to evaluate the evidence, study the record, and possibly provide expert testimony if the case goes to trial.
- Court fees. If both sides cannot agree to settle the case out of court, or the defendant's insurance company or third parties' insurance companies fail to make a good faith offer, and the case goes to trial, there will likely be court fees incurred.
Usually, the costs involved in resolving a personal injury case are deducted from the jury verdict or negotiated settlement, leaving the injury victims without spending money on upfront costs. Our injury attorneys will craft the best contingency fee agreement that works in your case to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve.
How Much is the Contingent Fee?
During your free evaluation, our injury lawyers will craft a contingency fee arrangement based on numerous factors concerning the severity of your injuries, the extent of property damage, and if a fatality is involved. The contributing factors used to determine the contingency fee percentage in most contingency fee agreements include:
- Time and legal work. A large portion of the contingency fee percentage is based on the time required and the legal work necessary to ensure a favorable settlement or verdict award. The attorney's experience can help identify challenges based on the case's strengths and weaknesses to estimate the length of time it will take in the amount of legal work required to win the case.
There is sufficient evidence and a strong set of legal and medical documents to support the case in many injury cases, minimizing the length of time it will take to negotiate a favorable settlement or win the case at trial.
In other cases, there may be limited evidence or documents creating uncertainty about the outcome. When this occurs, the lawyer risks their time, legwork, and paralegal costs while spending their company's resources to keep the case moving forward. As a result, a higher level of risk can significantly impact the contingency fee percentage.
- Settlement and trial. According to statistics, approximately 95% of all civil cases are settled before going to trial. In cases where the injured victim's attorney negotiates a settlement, resolving the case is significantly quicker and more cost-effective than going to trial.
However, some cases will end up in court, requiring significant preparation and legal research to present the evidence to the jurors. Thus, determining how the case will be resolved during the initial free case evaluation is nearly impossible. However, experienced attorneys will estimate the costs.
Contingency Fee Agreements Can be Different If Your Case Goes to Trial
Nearly all personal injury law firms charge a slightly higher percentage for their legal fees if the case goes to trial. This arrangement is usually required because of the extensive legal work necessary to build a case to present evidence to a judge and jury.
A typical contingency fee percentage based on a negotiated settlement might be 5% or 10% more if the case goes to court. Even in these cases, the attorney's fee is paid only from a jury award after the verdict or negotiated settlement while the case is actively heard in court.
In many cases, the defendant's attorneys will ask the plaintiff to negotiate a settlement during the case when the evidence is not in their favor. At this point, the defendant may be worried that the jury will return a verdict that far surpasses their ability to pay the damages or that jurors will seek punitive damages from the judge to punish the defendant for their egregious behavior.
The additional percentage in the contingent fee arrangement pays for the ongoing court hearings, motions, and the hundreds of hours required to prepare and present the case in court.
How Court Fees Are Treated
The victim's attorney will need to advance specific costs throughout the case, like court expenses, filing fees, and payment for a court reporter used during depositions. Additionally, the attorney may pay for expert witnesses and obtaining official medical records.
The court fees listed above are usually paid out of the injury award negotiated or won at trial.
However, each agreement may be different on who pays what expenses and when. For example, when you hire a lawyer, you ask about paying court fee costs before signing the agreement. When you sign the document, the terms of the agreement will be the rules that are followed throughout your case.
How a Contingency Fee Agreement is Executed
You do not need to write a check to your lawyer after the case with a contingency agreement. Instead, when you settle your case, or the defendant writes a check after a jury award, the lawyer will automatically be paid a percentage of your recovery out of the total amount from the settlement negotiations or jury award.
The good thing about a contingent fee arrangement is that it makes it easier for you to file a personal injury claim.
If you had to pay a lawyer their set hourly rate over several years before you obtain compensation, the chances are that you would never be able to afford to fight for your legal rights. This way, the lawyer steps out and shoulders the risk while working on your behalf without paying their hourly fee.
In any event, you need to review the contingent fee agreement closely before signing it. The law firm cannot put in any terms that violate the rules, but it still helps to be familiar with the financial terms of your relationship with the attorney before you formally hire them. You should always know the exact percentage of your claim that will go to attorney's fees.
Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer Through a Contingency Fee Agreement
Were you harmed, or did you lose a loved one through someone else's negligence? Do you need legal advice on how to move your case forward? Are you struggling with the responsible party's insurance company denying or delaying your claim?
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our attorneys remain committed to ensuring that our clients recover compensation for their damages and other expenses. Call our law office today at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free case evaluation.
We work on a contingency fee arrangement to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. All sensitive or confidential information you share with our law office remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Of course, your legal representation would start with a free consultation should you choose to hire our law firm. So call the attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers today!