You were recently in an accident. But you cannot work, so you have medical bills piling up and no way to pay them. You believe you have a legal case but do not have any extra funds for a lawyer.
Injury lawyers understand your dilemma. You should have access to quality legal representation after your injury, regardless of your financial situation. That’s why most injury lawyers charge a contingency fee rather than an hourly or flat fee. This arrangement provides benefits to the client and incentives to the lawyer.
Read on to learn how contingency fees work and the ways these fees benefit clients.
Private lawyers charge a fee for legal services. Legal fees usually come in one of three types:
Lawyers charge an hourly fee when they cannot predict the amount of work a project might require.
Lawyers charge flat fees for projects with a fixed amount of work. A lawyer might charge a flat fee to write a will or incorporate a business.
A contingency fee does not depend on the amount of work or time a case requires. Instead, a contingency fee depends on the outcome the lawyer produces for the client.
How Contingency Fees Work
Lawyers quote a contingency fee as a fixed percentage, usually between 33% and 40%. This number represents the share of your compensation that you will pay to the lawyer for legal services if they recover compensation for you.
Suppose your lawyer negotiates a settlement for your case of $50,000. If the lawyer charges a contingency fee of 35%, the lawyer receives a fee of $17,500.
What a Contingency Fee Covers
Different lawyers handle contingency fees differently. But a contingency fee usually covers:
- Consulting with the lawyer in person, by phone, and via email
- Preparing your insurance claim
- Negotiating with the insurer to settle the case
- Drafting pleadings for a lawsuit
- Conducting discovery and filing pre-trial motions
- Presenting your case to a jury
Some lawyers charge a tiered contingency fee. If the case is settled before trial, the lawyer charges one rate, such as 35%. If the case goes to trial, the lawyer charges a different rate, such as 40%.
What a Contingency Does Not Cover
Again, different lawyers handle their fees differently. But most contingency fees do not include:
- Filing or arguing appeals
- Litigation costs
- Fees charged by medical providers for records
Make sure you discuss litigation costs and record fees with the lawyer before hiring them. These costs get incurred in almost every case, and most lawyers pass these costs on to you.
Specifically, the lawyer will usually pay record fees and litigation costs, like filing fees, court reporter fees, and expert witness fees, to keep the case moving. But at the end of the case, you will need to reimburse the lawyer for any amounts expended on your behalf.
What Are the Benefits of Contingency Fees?
Contingency fees provide several benefits to clients:
No Money Upfront
Since the lawyer gets paid based on the outcome of the case, you do not need to pay any upfront money to hire an injury lawyer. Instead, you pay at the end of the case when the lawyer collects your compensation from the at-fault party or their insurer.
No Fee for a Loss
A contingency fee represents a percentage of the compensation you receive for your settlement or verdict. If you receive no compensation, the lawyer receives no fee. In other words, you only pay a fee if you win or settle your case. If you lose, the lawyer receives no legal fee.
An Incentive for the Lawyer
A contingency fee incentivizes the lawyer to maximize your compensation. When you receive more compensation, the lawyer receives a greater fee.
Before offering to represent you for a contingency fee, a lawyer will evaluate your case. If the case has problems, the lawyer might not want to risk offering a contingency fee. Lawyers usually have high confidence in a win or settlement when they take a contingency fee case.
You Keep the Bulk of Your Compensation
A typical contingency fee ranges from 33% to 40%. Even at the high end of the range, you will keep the majority of the compensation you win in your case.
Hiring a Contingency Fee Lawyer
In Nevada, lawyers must provide a written contingency fee agreement. This agreement should outline the contingency fee rate and the costs the lawyer passes on to you.
Before you hire a lawyer, review their fee agreement carefully. If you do not understand any of the terms, discuss them with the lawyer. If you still do not understand the agreement, you can ask another lawyer to review the agreement with you.
To discuss contingency fees and what you would pay to seek compensation for your injury, contact Battle Born Injury Lawyers for a free consultation with our experienced personal injury attorneys in Las Vegas at (702) 570-9000.