What Are Contingency Fees?

by Staff Blogger | February 26th, 2024

If you’re considering legal action in a personal injury case, you might encounter the concept of contingency fees. This arrangement means your personal injury lawyer only gets paid if your case is successfully resolved, earning a predetermined percentage of your final settlement amount.

This arrangement means you don’t need to worry about upfront legal fees. It’s a practical option if you’re concerned about the costs of legal representation, and it creates a shared-risk situation where your lawyer’s motivation is directly tied to your success in the case.

Learn more about how contingency fees work at Berg Injury Lawyers, helping you get skilled legal help for your personal injury case.

How Contingency Fees Work

Contingency fees are a sign-now, pay-later payment model for legal services. When you hire a lawyer with this arrangement, their fee includes their time and experience. This fee is a set percentage of your settlement or award, ensuring all necessary legal work is covered without upfront costs.

If your case is successful, these fees will be deducted from the final settlement or award. If not, you generally owe nothing. This makes it a low-risk option for those needing legal counsel but not immediately available funds.

Always ensure you understand the specific terms and percentage, as it may vary from one lawyer or firm to another.

Benefits and Considerations

There are several benefits to using an attorney who works on a contingency fee arrangement, including:

  • Reduced financial risk. You do not need to pay upfront fees with a contingency agreement. This reduces the financial risk associated with pursuing a lawsuit. If the case is unsuccessful, you typically won’t owe attorney fees.
  • Access to legal representation. Contingency fees provide access to experienced legal counsel for individuals who may not have the means to pay hourly rates or retain an attorney on a traditional fee basis. This is especially important in personal injury cases, where you may already be dealing with medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
  • Motivated attorneys. Since they only get paid if you win your case, your attorneys are highly motivated to secure the best possible outcome. It also means they likely won’t take on your case if there isn’t a reasonable chance of a favorable settlement. This often means more dedicated and effective legal representation.

Despite these benefits, you may have concerns or misconceptions about contingency fees — for example, the possibility of hidden costs. Even under this arrangement, you may be responsible for court filing fees, document request fees, or postage and copying fees if your case is unsuccessful.

However, your attorney should provide you with a clear and transparent contract before you use their services. This contract outlines the specifics of the fee arrangement, including the percentage the attorney will take from any settlement or award if they win the case, as well as any potential costs or fees you might be responsible for if the case does not succeed.

Contingency Fees and Additional Charges in California

In California, contingency fees are subject to regulations and ethical guidelines set by the State Bar of California. The California State Bar mandates that attorneys may not charge unreasonable or excessive fees. It also outlines that any fees must reflect the services performed and require informed consent from the client before charging.

However, these percentages can vary based on the case’s complexity and other factors.

For instance, a straightforward car accident claim might be at the lower end of this range since it may not require extensive investigation or expert witnesses.

Complex medical malpractice cases may warrant a greater percentage of contingency fees. This increase reflects the complexity of the case and the necessity for additional resources such as medical experts, extensive records retrieval, and thorough research.

This variability ensures that the fee structure is adaptable to the unique demands of each case.

Find Affordable Legal Representation

Contingency fees make legal representation accessible to all personal injury victims, especially those facing financial hardship after an accident. If you’re concerned about legal fees, speak with our experienced team at Berg Injury Lawyers.

Our personal injury lawyers are committed to providing transparent and compassionate representation. Contact us today for a free consultation. We can explain our contingency fee structure and help you get started on your case.