When there is a contingency fee arrangement in a personal injury case, the lawyer only receives compensation for his/her legal services if there’s a successful outcome for the client.
What Is a Contingency Fee?
Contingency fees are a form of payment for legal services provided by a lawyer. In contrast to a fixed hourly rate or a flat fee, contingency fee arrangements between lawyer and client allow the lawyer to receive a percentage of the monetary award when the case is won or settled. However, the dollar amount the lawyer receives is contingent upon a successful outcome. If the lawyer is unable to win compensation for the client’s losses, he/she receives no payment for legal representation.
Contingency fees are common in personal injury cases because they permit legal representation to an injury victim with no upfront costs. Injury victims who may not be able to afford legal representation can afford to hire a lawyer. In cases involving car crashes and slip and fall accidents where injuries can result in long-term or permanent injuries and/or disabilities, working on a contingency basis may be the only way some victims can afford to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages.
Most slip and fall lawyers who work on a contingency basis will not accept a case or commit to the time and effort needed unless they have good reason to believe they can win the case. Although contingency fees vary between lawyers, they generally range between 20% and 50% of the recovery amount. Percentages are based on a variety of factors including:
- Circumstances related to the accident
- Nature and extent of personal injuries
- Medical care and/or rehabilitation required
- Present and future medical expenses
- Present and future lost wages
- Impact of injuries on the victim’s life
Since it is difficult to answer all legal questions at the beginning of a personal injury case, contingency fees provide a way to file a lawsuit, investigate the case, and recover for damages through a legal process, even a lengthy one. If the case is resolved quickly through mediation or a settlement agreement, contingency fees are often lower than fees when a case proceeds to trial.
Slip and fall lawyers commonly take cases based on contingency fees, because fall accidents result in such a wide variety of injuries. While some cases for minor injuries resolve quickly, others involving permanent injuries and disabilities may take months, even years to resolve.