Contingency Fee Agreements
If you have been in a car or slip and fall accident, the last thing you want to deal with is legal fees for bringing a claim. Fortunately, most personal injury lawyers will take on your claim on a ‘contingent’ basis. What that means is that you won’t have to pay anything out of your own pocket until the claim is settled or a judgment is granted.
At that point, the lawyer will be entitled to be repaid any out of pocket expenses and a fee for his or her legal services. Generally the fee is a percentage of the value of the claim. The percentage can vary from claim to claim, depending upon a variety of factors such as the complexity of the claim, issues of liability (who was at fault and whether fault is likely to be admitted), the size of the claim (i.e. in dollar terms), pre-existing health issues (that may complicate the claim or reduce the dollar value of the claim) etc.
One of the most important items is the trust that you have in the lawyer you are hiring – don’t underestimate the importance of this point. It is worth paying a little bit more if you have great comfort in the knowledge and experience of the person that is looking after your claim. My view is that, like anything else, you get what you pay for.