What is a Contingency Fee?

What is a Contingency Fee?

The United States is a very litigious country. This is because our legal system is derived from the English common law system to provide a full range of remedies when someone is injured due to the malfeasance or negligence of another. The bedrock of this system mandates private insurance to act as a communal pot when members of the community are in need.

Yet, one thing that is not provided in our Constitution is the right to counsel when you are personally injured. Few folks may be willing to gamble with the outcome when they are already overwhelmed with medical bills. Therefore, attorneys have stepped up to the plate in solving this problem by offering representation on a contingency fee agreement basis in most cases.

Advantages of Contingency Fee Agreements

A contingency fee agreement is a contract that requires a client to only pay their personal injury attorney for services if they win. These agreements will often require a client to impart over 20 percent of their awards to the attorney. The average contingency agreement is about 33 percent or 1/3 of the total awards. In some cases, these awards are greater than the billable hours of an attorney who charges quid pro quo for any work done on the case.

However, the chief benefit of a contingency fee agreement is that clients are not obligated to pay for a single minute of the attorney's time if the attorney does not reach a fair settlement or win at trial. Because over 95 percent of personal injury cases are settled before trial, most of the work involves preparing evidence of injury and eliminating contradictions.

Because the rewards are often quite large, however, the attorney fees may be meaningless in the big picture. Most clients are satisfied with the end result and are willing to forego the anxiety and risk if they ultimately receive compensation. Because a contingency fee takes a huge burden off victims, it is usually the primary choice for most personal injury litigation.

Disadvantages of Contingency Fees

Depending on the agreement, a client may still be expected to pay hundreds of dollars for court filings, thousands of dollars for expert witnesses, and thousands more for depositions and transcriptionists. In addition, official documents are often voluminous and may cost anywhere from 10 cents to 50 cents per page. Mind you, you'd still be expected to pay these fees yourself if you received pro bono representation or litigated the claims on your own.

In a simple case, the client may wind up paying significantly more than if they had hired an attorney and paid the standard rate. A few phone calls and letters may be all that is needed for a victim of a minor cut-and-dry accident to come to an agreement and reduce litigation costs. Having the wisdom to recognize when contingency fees are appropriate requires some balancing tests during a consultation with an experienced attorney.

How Can a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Help You?

If you've been injured in an accident due to no fault of your own, a qualified Los Angeles personal injury attorney can help you obtain full compensation. You can obtain payment for missed work days, medical bills accrued, and property damage. You may also qualify for compensation to manage pain and suffering, quality of life issues, disabilities, and more.

When your life is on the line, you need an experienced attorney. Call the Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus for a free consultation today (800) 905-8777.

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