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What is a Contingency Fee?

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Posted on September 19, 2023

When an accident victim seeks legal counsel from a personal injury lawyer in Tampa, he or she is often struggling with expensive hospital bills, future foreseeable medical costs, property damage and lost wages. The victim may not have the financial ability to pay attorney’s fees during this taxing time. To solve this issue, many personal injury attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis.

What Does it Mean When a Personal Injury Law Firm Operates on a “Contingency Fee Basis?”

When a law firm advertises that it uses contingency fees, this means attorney’s fees are contingent, or dependent, upon the victim getting paid. At these law firms, clients do not pay a dime in attorney’s fees until and unless the personal injury case successfully results in a settlement or judgment award. No win means no attorney’s fees will be charged for legal services that were already rendered on the case.

With this fee arrangement, the injured accident victim never absorbs any of the financial risks of pursuing legal action. If the case does result in a successful settlement or jury verdict, the fee will come directly from the money won on behalf of the client – not out of the client’s pocket. This way, the client will not have to pay out of pocket to hire an experienced and skilled accident attorney, win or lose.

How Are Legal Fees Assessed in a Contingency Fee Case?

Contingency fees are typically charged using a percentage system. If the law firm succeeds in securing a financial award for the client, it will deduct a certain percentage from the overall amount collected in attorney’s fees. The amount of this percentage varies from lawyer to lawyer, as well as the facts and complexity of the case. However, it is typically around one-third of the client’s recovery. This fee will only be charged if the law firm wins the case.

The Benefits of Contingency Fees

A contingency fee payment arrangement with a lawyer can have several advantages for a client. The first is greater financial peace of mind during what is typically a difficult and expensive time in life after an accident. Attorney’s fees will not be an added expense while an accident victim is already trying to pay for property damage repairs, a rental vehicle, medical bills and/or lost wages.

Another benefit to contingency fees is paying $0 in upfront costs for a lawyer. Attorneys who operate under a contingency fee arrangement do not charge a retainer or any upfront costs. A retainer is a fee that must be paid in full before a lawyer will start working on a case. At some law firms, the retainer can be $2,000 or more. With contingency fees, the law firm will front the costs of litigation and going to court for the client. The money fronted will not have to be repaid unless the case results in a financial recovery for the client.

Finally, a contingency fee arrangement can provide greater confidence in an attorney’s commitment to the case, since the attorney will not get paid unless he or she recovers financial compensation for the client. The amount the attorney receives as payment is also based on how much he or she secures on behalf of the client. In this way, contingency fees offer a financial incentive for a lawyer to deliver the best possible case results for the victim.

To learn more about how contingency fees work during a personal injury case in Tampa, contact Vanguard Attorneys for a free consultation. We work on a ‘no recovery no fee’ basis.