It’s not uncommon for people to avoid contacting lawyers out of financial fear. The thought of paying substantial up-front costs or high hourly fees is terrifying, mainly when there is no guarantee of a positive result.
Fortunately for clients who are seeking representation from a personal injury attorney, you don’t have to break the bank to get quality legal services. Most personal injury lawyers secure their earnings through contingency fees, where clients only pay when their case is won. This arrangement allows clients the ability to afford the quality legal representation they deserve while providing a safety net for individuals if their claim is unsuccessful.
What Is A Contingency Fee?
Contingency fees are the costs your lawyer deducts for their services upon the successful conclusion of a case. When clients enter a contingency fee arrangement with an attorney, a fixed percentage will be deducted from the judgment or settlement a client’s compensation at the end of a case. After the attorney’s percentage of the winning is subtracted, the client walks away with the remainder of the reward, without the worry of having to pay additional fees.
Contingency fees must meet several qualifications to be valid:
• They must be in writing;
• The client must agree to them;
• They must state the method of how the fee is determined;
• They must clarify whether the expenses are deducted before or after the fee is calculated; and
• They must explain which expenses the clients are responsible for.
Attorneys who enter into contingency agreements with clients are often referred to as “no win, no pay” lawyers. There are no upfront costs, hourly rates, or retainer fees that are common with most other lawyers in the industry.
Types of Cases Where Contingency Fees Apply
It’s important to remember that not every attorney works on a contingent basis. Attorneys who work for contingency fees are taking a gamble in representing clients without the guarantee of payment. These attorneys must work exceptionally hard to seek favorable results, with little room for errors or lack of dedication.
Some of the most common types of cases where attorneys may charge a contingent fee include:
• Personal Injury;
• Product Liability;
• Medical Malpractice;
• Vehicle Accidents;
• Property Damage; and
• Class Action Lawsuits
Not all attorneys are up to this level of commitment in the personal injury field. If you are looking into a personal injury firm that does not offer contingent services, ask why and research the background of the firm before they start investigating your case.
When Contingency Agreements Are Not Allowed
Certain areas of the law prohibit the act of charging contingent fees, threatening the penalty of disbarment. These types of cases include:
• Criminal Cases;
• Immigration Cases;
• Trusts or Legal Documents;
• Domestic Relations (divorce or child support); and
If lawyers in these fields are offering contingent services, clients should be looking elsewhere for representation.
How Much Is A Contingency Fee?
The percentage deducted for contingency fees depends on the state your case is located in and the type of case. In New York, the ordinary percentage for a contingent fee is 33 percent, about a third of the monetary reward received. Before any work begins, you and your attorney will review the predicted duration, complexity, and resources needed for your case to agree on a fixed percentage.
The stage in which your case is brought to a conclusion can also affect the payment percentages for your lawyer. If an attorney settles your claim before a lawsuit is filed, it is unlikely they will secure more than 33 percent of the reward.
What Else Can Lawyers Charge For?
When you hire a lawyer to represent your best interests, there is an abundance of investigative and administrative work going on behind the scenes to litigate or try a case successfully. It’s common for personal injury attorneys to bear the brunt of costs and expenses during the legal process to maintain a healthy momentum in the case. These expenses are then deducted in addition to the contingency fee from the secured settlement or judgment if the case is won.
Examples of costs and expenses that could be deducted include medical records, postage, expert witnesses, police reports, filing fees, and outside investigators. These costs can put the percentage of a lawyer’s fee up to around 45 to 60 percent, but the benefits of keeping the case moving strong and efficiently is worth the cost. When it comes to additional costs and expenses, discuss these details with your attorney before entering an agreement to ensure there are no surprises at the end of the case.
The Benefits of Contingency Fees
In most personal injury cases, the clients are seeking monetary compensation because they cannot afford to pay for the injuries a negligent party has caused. Contingency fees are a saving grace for financially insecure individuals. This agreement allows clients the opportunity to seek justice without having to go broke and to secure experienced legal representation instead of settling for what they can afford.
NYC and Long Island Personal Injury Attorneys
The attorneys of Siler & Ingber are committed to working with our clients to help them get the compensation they deserve. With a 98% success rate, we have the experience and the know-how to help our clients achieve a favorable outcome. If you have been hurt in an accident, we are here to help. Contact us today at 1-877-LAW-4343, or schedule an appointment online anytime. We never charge a fee unless we recover money for you.
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The Law Office of Siler & Ingber, LLP
301 Mineola Blvd. Mineola, NY 11501
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