Everything you need to know about contingency fees

A lawyer and client going over paperwork

Advertisements for personal injury lawyers are everywhere these days, and most of them have something in common: they make references to contingency fees and how you, the client, pays nothing unless they win your case. You’ve probably heard the old expression, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” While that may be accurate in some situations, it isn’t necessarily correct when it comes to attorneys and contingency fees.

What exactly is a contingency fee?

When you hire a personal injury attorney on a contingency fee basis, you don’t have to pay anything upfront to retain the lawyer for your case. You’re simply entering into a financial agreement that states how your attorney will be paid for his or her time and labor (legal fees) if and when the lawyer secures compensation on your behalf, either through a court judgment or a negotiated settlement.

Since your attorney’s fee is contingent upon the successful outcome of your case, you won’t get charged legal fees if you lose. If you do win, your lawyer receives a pre-arranged percentage of the financial award, excluding costs.

Contingency fees can vary from law firm to law firm, but most charge around one-third of the monetary award. Contingency fees can also be structured on a sliding scale, meaning your attorney may receive a higher percentage of the award if he or she has to file a lawsuit on your behalf or prepare to take your case to trial.

Regardless of where you go for legal help, you should have a clear understanding of the contingency fee agreement before you sign it. If you can’t figure out what the attorney’s fees are or if you have other questions about the arrangement, be sure to have it explained to you so you know exactly what you’re agreeing to.

Are there any hidden costs in a contingency fee agreement?

There are some expenses an attorney will front to move your case forward, and these are generally not covered in a standard contingency fee arrangement. Such expenses might include:

  • Any applicable court costs
  • Filing fees
  • Copying charges
  • Costs to consult with specialists and/or expert witnesses
  • Deposition fees
  • Charges related to serving summons and subpoenas

Keep in mind that even if you lose your case, you still may be responsible for costs. Some lawyers will waive these expenses as they see fit, but that is at their discretion.

What are the biggest advantages of a contingency fee?

First and foremost, a lot of people who sustain a severe injury in an accident don’t even bother to seek legal help from an attorney because they assume that they can’t afford to hire one. Under a contingency fee agreement, you don’t need any upfront cash to get the legal representation you need.

Other benefits of a contingency fee include:

  • Even if you don’t have the funds to hire an attorney, you get access to the court system.
  • Your case doesn’t come down to how big your wallet is and will be decided on its merit.
  • You won’t get billed by the hour or have to worry about the clock running when you need to consult with your attorney.
  • You and your lawyer share the same goals because if you lose, your attorney loses too. As such, you can take comfort knowing no stone will be left unturned to secure every dollar you deserve.
  • If you win, legal fees are deducted from the financial award instead of being a bill you have to pay out of pocket.

Pay no fees or costs if there’s no recovery

At the Law Offices of Scott M. Miller, PLLC, you pay absolutely nothing for our legal services unless we make a financial recovery on your behalf. That’s it. There’s no fine print or hidden details. You only pay attorney’s fees if we win, and if we don’t win, you don’t have to pay any fees or costs.

Attorney Miller works this way because representing those who have been injured as a result of negligence is his calling, and he firmly believes everyone should have access to a lawyer when they need one. That’s why if you can’t get to us to discuss your case, we can come to you. It’s also why you can contact us 24 hours a day to get answers to any questions or concerns about your claim. To learn more, contact us today for a free consultation. We’re based in Longwood, FL and we proudly serve clients throughout Seminole County and the greater Orlando area.