What is a Contingency Fee?

After being harmed in an accident, many people experience serious injuries, property damage, and mental anguish. As medical bills and other damages begin to accumulate exacerbated by being unable to work, worrying about how you are ever going to afford quality legal representation is an understandable concern. Most personal injury attorneys work around this issue by operating on a contingency fee. This means that the attorney only gets paid if they win your case. In other words, their fee is contingent on you collecting damages. If you are considering entering into a contingency fee agreement for your personal injury case, it is necessary to fully understand the terms and to work with an experienced and reputable Chesapeake personal injury attorney from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. Call us today to schedule your free case review. 

Contingency Fee Basics

When discussing your potential injury claim with a personal injury lawyer, they may mention a contingency fee. A contingency fee is when an attorney agrees to take your case in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of any monies they recover on your behalf.

Almost no one anticipates needing a personal injury attorney, so they don’t have funds set aside to cover attorney’s fees should the need arise. Whether or not a contingency fee is right for you depends primarily on your ability to bear the burden of pay-as-you-go legal representation. Lawsuits and insurance claims can sometimes take months or even years to sort out. There aren’t too many people with the economic dexterity to cover attorney’s fees for such an extended time. 

Variations on Contingency Fees

There are a few variations on the standard agreement that may be used in specific cases. These variations are:

Hourly Contingency Fees

Using this agreement, your lawyer will document the number of hours spent working on your case, and their fees will correspond to this total. As with the standard agreement, you will not owe anything for their services unless they win your case. 

Mixed-Hourly Contingency Fees

Under this arrangement, your lawyer bills you for their services at an hourly rate and you pay this bill upfront. This hourly rate is often less than their usual hourly rate. If they are successful in recovering compensation, the remainder is paid from there.  

Graduated Contingency Fees

With this fee arrangement, your lawyer agrees to a smaller fee provided your case can be settled out of court. If it then moves to litigation, their fee will increase. 

Not every personal injury firm uses a contingency fee arrangement or one of its variants, and they are not necessarily desirable or convenient for every personal injury case. Your attorney can offer you additional insight pertaining to your injury claim during a free consultation and give you detailed information about how legal costs are handled.  

Contingency Fees and Complex Cases

Generally speaking, in a more complex or risky the case, the higher the contingency fee percentage. The anticipated duration of the case or time restrictions imposed by the client can also influence the percentage. Contrariwise, an attorney can reduce the contingency fee percentage if a case is fairly straightforward or certain to end in recovery.

Are There Advantages to a Contingency Fee Agreement?

Contingency fee arrangements are an excellent way for those injured by third-party negligence to receive exceptional legal representation without worrying about paying out of pocket. Contingency fees are most commonly used in cases involving personal injury, wrongful death, product liability, and mass torts. Unlike attorneys who charge an hourly rate and require an up-front retainer to cover costs, contingency fees make personal injury an area of law that is accessible to everyone, regardless of their current financial circumstances. 

Speak to a Chesapeake Personal Injury Lawyer 

Personal injury victims who are represented by skilled attorneys obtain settlements an average of three times larger than those who try to represent themselves. Many personal injury victims do not think they can afford an attorney, but thanks to contingency fee arrangements, the Chesapeake personal injury lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help those who need it, such as when we won a $1.275 million settlement for the family of a wife and mother who died after a heart catheterization procedure. If you have questions regarding a potential personal injury case and how contingency fees may apply, call us at (833) 997-1774 or reach out online to schedule a free consultation. Our offices are located in Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Norfolk, Hampton, and Virginia Beach.