What, exactly, is a "CONTINGENT FEE"?
Law firms which restrict their practice to matters involving victims of personal injury, usually limit their fee arrangement with their clients to a ‘CONTINGENT FEE” .
What, exactly, is a “CONTINGENT FEE”?
It seems hard to argue against the position that a “CONTINGENT FEE” is simply the fairest, most equitable arrangement that any client could hope for. It basically says to you, the client, that the ONLY way you will owe your attorneys any fee is if your attorney is successful in obtaining money for you to compensate you for your injury, whether through settlement or after a trial. In the event the firm is unable to obtain money to compensate you then, in that event, you do not owe your attorney any attorney’s fee whatsoever! What could be fairer from a client’s point of view?
Furthermore, the amount of fee the attorney is entitled to is directly related to the amount of money your attorney recovers on your behalf. The greater the amount of recovery, the greater the fee your attorney receives. As a general rule, the fee an attorney receives amounts to one-third of the amount recovered, after first deducting the expenses paid out in pursuing the case on your behalf. (There are some exceptions and the attorney will explain any differences and give you a written “retainer agreement” setting out the fee arrangement in detail).
For anyone that has either experienced, or knows someone that had to hire an attorney and experienced, being charged for every minute of every phone conversation with that attorney, the “CONTINGENT FEE” arrangement can be a refreshing breath of fresh air. How comforting to know that any question, at any time, can be answered with just a phone call and there are no extra charges to have what may be a very important–or even not so important–matter dealt with quickly.
Be certain to ask the attorney what happens in the event there is NO recovery and the attorney has incurred expenses on your behalf. This may be handled somewhat differently by different attorneys.