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How Does a Contingency Fee Work

October 24, 2019 Personal Injury

If you were recently injured in an accident in Georgia, you may be searching for a personal injury law firm to handle your case. One phrase you may see when browsing through personal injury lawyers in Georgia is “contingency fee basis”. This refers to how the law firm charges attorney’s fees. A contingency fee means you will not have to pay the lawyer unless he or she is successful in obtaining you a settlement award or jury verdict for your damages. Contingency fees may make it possible for you to more easily afford a personal injury attorney after a serious accident.

What Are Contingency Fees?

Attorneys typically receive financial compensation for the legal services they provide during personal injury claims. Most understand, however, that an injured accident victim may not have enough money readily available to pay a retainer or attorney’s fees upfront – or at all if the case is unsuccessful. Injured accident victims come to lawyers for assistance because of financial strife, in most cases. They are suffering under the weight of medical bills, lost wages and property damage repair costs. They often cannot afford to pay for an attorney on top of these expenses.

Many personal injury lawyers solve this problem by offering their services on a contingency fee basis. Contingency fees mean legal fees are contingent upon the lawyer winning the case. If the lawyer does not win, the client will not have to pay any fees for services rendered. The lawyer will only earn compensation if the client does. No costs upfront and no costs unless the client wins a financial award can make legal services available to every accident victim, regardless of financial status. Contingency fees make legal representation possible for most injured victims.

How Do They Work?

Although each lawyer has the authority to set up his or her fees in any manner, most that offer their services on a contingency fee basis will charge $0 initially for their services. It will not cost anything to retain the law firm, fund an investigation or file the initial claim with the courts. Most lawyers will not charge for their services or court costs unless and until they obtain financial awards on your behalf. Before you retain the attorney, the law firm will explain how the fee setup will work to you as a prospective client.

Most firms that use contingency fees charge for their services via a percentage of any settlement or verdict award won for the client. With no fees upfront, you will not have to pay until the completion of your case. You will agree ahead of time on the percentage the attorney will deduct from your final award – if any – in legal fees. At most firms, the lawyer will collect about 33%, or one-third, of the final award in a contingency fee arrangement. If a settlement yields $100,000, for example, the lawyer would keep about $33,000 as his or her compensation for representing the client.

A lawyer may increase or decrease his or her contingency fee percentage depending on the case. If the case has to go to trial, for example, it will require more work and time and the lawyer may charge more in legal fees. Some attorneys charge $0 for court costs, filing fees, depositions and other expenses necessary during the case if they lose. Others, however, will ask a client to pay for these expenses whether the attorney succeeds or not. As a client, make sure you understand all potential charges and fees before retaining a personal injury law firm in Gwinnett County, Georgia. Your lawyer should make all fee information available to you upfront. No lawyer should surprise you with hidden fees at the end of your case or in the middle of litigation.

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