Posted on: 1 July 2015Share
Before you hire a personal injury lawyer, it is important that you understand what a contingency fee is and how it works. The vast majority of personal injury lawyers are paid based on a contingency fee. Here are three things you need to know about contingency fees.
No Payments Up Front
If the personal injury lawyer you work with tells you that they will charge you based on a contingency fee, you should not have to make any payments up front for them to take on your case. Your lawyer will be paid a percentage of your settlement offer for their work on your case.
Determining The Fee
Before you proceed forward with your case, your lawyer should present their contingency fee in writing to you. It is important to have this information in writing because there are many ways that a contingency fee can be structured.
- Set Percentage: Your attorney's contingency fee could be a set percentage of anything you are awarded. For example, your attorney could ask to be paid 25% of your settlement. If your settlement is $1,000 or $1,000,000, you would still owe your attorney the same percentage – 25%.
- Sliding Scale: Your attorney's contingency fee could also be set up on a sliding scale. Up to a certain specified award amount, your attorney would receive a set percentage. Then, your attorney would be awarded a different set percentage for any money that you are awarded over the first specified amount. For example, your attorney may charge you 50% fee for the first $10,000 you are awarded. Any amount that you are awarded over the first $10,000 your attorney would only receive 10% of.
The numbers listed above are just an example of how a sliding scale would work. The exact numbers and terms your attorney presents you with will depend on your individual case.
Your attorney's contingency fee should be presented to you in writing. Make sure you understand and agree with the fee before you sign the paperwork.
There Could Be Other Costs
It is also important to note that your contingency fee is only paying your attorney for their work. You may still have a few out of pocket expenses. You will be required to pay any legal fees associated with filing your case with the court system. If your attorney plans on using any expert witnesses to establish your case, you may also have to pay them for their time as well.
Be sure to ask your personal injury attorney what additional costs you may have to pay out of pocket. Some attorneys wrap these fees into their contingency fee, and others expect you to pay for these costs out of pocket. Make sure you understand how your lawyer will be compensated before you agree to let them handle your case. If you're looking for a personal injury attorney in your area, visit Seiler & Parker PC.