Why do most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis? | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis because it provides numerous advantages for both the lawyer and the clients seeking legal representation for personal injury cases. Under a contingency fee arrangement, the attorney’s fee is contingent upon the successful resolution of the case, typically in the form of a percentage of the final settlement or court award. Here are the primary reasons why most personal injury attorneys prefer to work on a contingency basis:

Access to Justice

A contingency fee arrangement allows individuals who may not have the financial means to afford upfront legal fees to access quality legal representation. Personal injury cases can be expensive to litigate due to investigation costs, expert witnesses, and other expenses. By working on a contingency basis, attorneys level the playing field, enabling injured individuals to pursue their rights without worrying about upfront costs.

No Financial Risk for Clients

Clients do not have to pay anything unless their case is successful. If the attorney does not win the case or secure a settlement, the client is not required to pay any attorney’s fees. This arrangement alleviates the financial burden and risk for clients, ensuring that they do not face further hardship in pursuing their legal claims.

Motivation for Attorneys

A contingency fee arrangement aligns the interests of the attorney and the client. Attorneys have a financial stake in the outcome of the case, as their fee is contingent on winning or achieving a favorable settlement. This incentivizes attorneys to work diligently, use their expertise, and devote significant time and effort to maximize recovery for their clients.

Greater Case Selection

Working on a contingency basis allows attorneys to take on a broader range of cases and represent clients who may have meritorious claims but cannot afford upfront fees. This approach enables attorneys to advocate for justice in a more extensive spectrum of personal injury cases, regardless of their clients’ financial situations.

Client Confidence

When clients know that their attorney’s fee is contingent on a successful outcome, it can enhance their confidence in the attorney’s abilities. They can be reassured that the attorney is motivated to achieve the best possible result and that the attorney’s interests are aligned with their own.

Efficient Case Management

Contingency fee arrangements often encourage attorneys to seek settlements when appropriate, as a successful settlement benefits both the client and the attorney. Settling the case can expedite the resolution process and avoid the delays and uncertainties of lengthy trials.

Screening for Strong Cases

Personal injury attorneys typically offer free initial consultations to assess the merits of potential cases. By working on a contingency basis, attorneys are motivated to carefully evaluate cases and only take on those with a reasonable chance of success. This approach helps avoid wasting time and resources on weak claims.

Affording Legal Representation for the Injured

Contingency fee arrangements extend access to justice beyond personal injury cases. It is also commonly used in employment law, discrimination cases, and other civil rights matters, ensuring that injured parties can pursue their rights without financial barriers.