What Is a Contingency Fee? | Estey & Bomberger
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What Is a Contingency Fee?

When pursuing legal action, searching for a firm that fits your needs is essential. Many claimants might seek free consultation to inquire about the viability of their case and what a specific firm has to offer. One question that comes up involves how a claimant must pay for their lawyer’s services. The answer to this question is there are several methods of payment, the most common form being a contingency fee.

Rideshare sexual assault lawyers commonly charge on a contingency fee basis in court cases they believe will be successful. The claimant does not pay for legal services out-of-pocket when operating under a contingency fee. Instead, claimants pay the legal fees through the final compensation awarded after the case comes to a close. This provides a means of payment for claimants who cannot afford an attorney on the front end.

Lawyer's hand signing a contract

How Is It Calculated?

Lawyers base the contingency fee on a percentage that is reflective of the resources and time the they and their firms put into your case. In many cases, the standard fee is 30% to 35%, amounting to one-third of the total award. In circumstances where the claimant requires less assistance from the lawyer’s team, this percentage may decrease. You lawyer will discuss the percentage for your specific case beforehand.

When negotiating your contingency fee, it is essential to verify it will come out of your net payment. This means you pay back all court-related fees and any leftover medical expenses before the lawyer takes out their portion. Neglecting to establish this part of the agreement will give your lawyer a larger portion of money, leaving you with less compensation.

What if We Lose the Case?

Your lawyer’s payment is contingent upon your case’s success. If your case is unsuccessful, you will not owe your lawyer the contingency fee, though you will have to pay all court-related fees associated with the claims process.

What Do Contingency Fees Cover?

Contingency fees cover a large portion of the fees associated with filing a lawsuit. This includes:

  • Court-related fees
  • Claim filing fees
  • Medical evaluations
  • Expert witnesses
  • Lawyer involvement (ex. visitation to accident scene, utilization of lawyer’s team)

Contingency fees cover all expenses associated with pursuing a claim, but the plaintiff must remember these expenses will eventually reduce their total compensation. Therefore, the claimant and attorney must take all of these fees into account when claiming damages.

Other Forms of Payment

Depending on your case, you might not have the option to pay for legal services using a contingency fee. Several other methods of payment are available to claimants who do not operate under a contingency fee.

  • Contingency Fee Plus Retainer – While this method technically involves a contingency fee, the claimant must to pay small lump sum of money, called a retainer, before legal services begin. Paid back to the claimant out of the lawyer’s contingency fee, the retainer acts as a form of insurance for the attorney.
  • Flat Fees – Claimants who only require certain services from their lawyer may pay a flat fee. This is a static fee that only applies to the specific services the claimant requires.
  • Hourly Rate – Some attorneys offer an hourly rate for their services. This rate applies regardless of the end-result of your claim. If your case is unsuccessful, you must still pay your attorney.

Contingency fees are a method of paying for legal services that don’t require the claimant to provide any money out-of-pocket. With contingency fees, claimants don’t have to wonder how much money they will have to pay their lawyer. Using a fixed percentage removes the stress associated with calculating fees and the question of how to pay for legal fees if the case is unsuccessful. This makes it a preferred option when pursuing a claim.