What is a Contingency Fee?
Hiring a personal injury lawyer might just seem like an additional expense for most people, especially after suffering from serious injuries or property damages. However, personal injury lawyers generally work on a contingency fee basis, which means they will not get paid until the case is won. Read more about this on the website of the Sampson Law Firm. Lawyers who work on a contingency basis generally are awarded with a certain percent of the compensation award, between 25 and 40 percent (but usually one-third of the compensation award) but it can still vary depending on your agreement. Some states can have shifting percentage of according to the stage of the case or the amount of compensation awarded after the case.
In cases where the case is settled out of court or if the case goes to trial, the amount of lawyer’s fee can increase. Because of this, it is always important to talk with your personal injury lawyer regarding his contingency fee and to review your contract your have both agreed to in regard their legal services. Should there be any questions or things that you do not understand regarding the contract, you should immediately ask your lawyer to explain.
As agreed in your contract, you may or may not be the one responsible for payment of upfront legal fees and other litigation expenses – court filing fees, expert witness fees, court reporter fees, costs of obtaining medical records and police reports. Generally, it is the client who pays for these fees, unless otherwise stated in the legal contract. If you are unable to pay for these fees when they are due, the claim would not likely proceed until the payment has been made. If these fees are paid for by the lawyer (or typically by larger law firms) they will be eventually deducted from the settlement or final judgment.
There are cases where the contingency payment will not be applicable. There are lawyers who would ask for an initial retainer fee in order to begin taking your case, and would collect a certain amount for their contingency fee after the case. The amount that you already paid would then be deducted to the percentage due to the attorney after the case has been finalized. In less-complex injury cases, lawyers can ask for a flat fee arrangement, where the legal representation would just typically require for the drafting and response to a demand letter.
Personal injury lawyers are very important and necessary if the injuries or damages are serious and significant enough. Negotiating a settlement with the insurance company of the other party may be more beneficial if the accident was minor will minimal damages, but if there is considerable medical treatments or property damages, then it would help to hire legal representation. They are important in effectively negotiating the damages and could put pressure on the insurance company to offer a settlement.