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Contingency Fee

Contingency Fee

Contingency FeeThere is a general perception that attorneys are expensive. Many people believe they cannot afford quality legal representation.

However, most personal injury lawyers charge a contingency fee, not an hourly rate. That means you pay nothing upfront and nothing at all unless your lawyer wins your case.

The Free Initial Consultation

The Free Initial ConsultationIn the initial consultation, you and the lawyer will discuss your case. They might ask you many questions to allow them to judge the strength of your claim.

Most personal injury lawyers will not take a case unless they believe the odds of victory are good and the amount of the compensation is likely to be high. If the lawyer asks to represent you on a contingency basis, you can be sure that they believe your claim is strong. Most personal injury lawyers charge nothing for an initial consultation.

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How Contingency Fees Work

In a contingency fee arrangement, your lawyer’s legal fee is a pre-agreed percentage of the amount your lawyer wins for you in court or settlement negotiations. Typically, this amount ranges from 33 to 40 percent, depending on several factors (see below).

So what happens if your lawyer comes back empty-handed? You don’t owe any legal fees. Most lawyers will not even charge you for case expenses under these circumstances.

Your lawyer will spell all of this in their fee agreement, which you should read carefully. If you don’t like the fee agreement terms, you can try to renegotiate the terms. If the lawyer refuses, you can always seek another lawyer.

Case Expenses

Legal claims, and especially lawsuits, tend to generate expenses beyond legal fees, such as:

  • Court fees;
  • Requests for medical records;
  • Costs for expert witnesses (in brain injury or cases, for example);
  • Investigation expenses; and
  • Various other expenses.

In most cases, your lawyer will pay these fees out of their own pocket and seek reimbursement for them only after they win your claim.

Factors That Determine the Amount of Your Lawyer’s Contingency Fee

Following is a list of only a few factors your lawyer might consider when determining what percentage of your compensation to demand.

  • The complexity of your case.
  • The strength of your claim.
  • Whether you go to trial. Trials take a lot of work, and your lawyer will probably seek higher legal fees to compensate for this extra work.
  • The size of your claim. A lawyer might settle for a lower percentage of a high-value claim, such as an 18-wheeler truck accident.

If the lawyer finds your case too difficult or too risky, they might refuse to take your case.

Advantages of the Contingency Fee System

Following is a list of some of the main advantages of the contingency fee system:

  • It gives you equal access to the personal injury compensation system regardless of your finances.
  • It puts you and your lawyer on the same side. Your lawyer only gets paid if you do., and the more money you win, the more money your lawyer wins.
  • It relieves you of the risk of paying high legal fees for an unfavorable result.

How Your Compensation is Distributed

Your right to compensation will arise from either a signed settlement agreement or a court judgment. The money will go into your lawyer’s client escrow account.

Your lawyer will then deduct expenses such as:

  • Case expenses;
  • The lawyer’s legal fees;
  • Enough money to satisfy a medical lien (if any); and
  • Any other applicable deductions.

After your lawyer has deducted all appropriate amounts, they will send the rest of the money to you, typically by bank-to-bank transfer.

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Contact an Austin Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Most personal injury lawyers offer free initial case consultations. Therefore, there is minimal financial risk in seeking the representation you need after an accident. Contact a lawyer from FVF Law today to schedule a free consultation with one of our Austin injury attorneys at (512) 982-9328.

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