What Is a Contingency Fee and How Does it Affect Your Personal Injury Case

What Is a Contingency Fee and How Does it Affect Your Personal Injury Case?

The vast majority of personal injury lawyers take their clients’ cases and a contingency fee basis, and this is true with our firm as well. A contingency fee in the context of an injury claim means simply that the attorney fees are “contingent” upon the attorney recovering compensation on your behalf. In other words, rather than charging an hourly rate for their services, the attorney only gets paid if they win your case.

The contingency fee arrangement is very beneficial for personal injury victims who want to pursue damages against the party that was responsible for their injuries. Many people who are in this position are facing high medical bills and the prospect of being out of work while recovering from their injury, so they are typically short of the funds they would need to pay upfront for legal representation. Contingency fees level the playing field and provide equal access to the justice system – regardless of someone’s financial condition.

Aside from not having to pay upfront attorney fees, the contingency fee arrangement provides several other advantages as well, such as:

  • Attorney is Incentivized to Win: Once you enter into a contingency fee agreement, you now have a legal advocate in your corner whose interests are fully aligned with yours. Since your attorney only gets paid if you win the case, they are going to put in their best effort to make sure that happens. They are also incentivized to get you the highest possible settlement or verdict since their fee is contingent on the amount of compensation that is collected. On a related note, your lawyer is not going to unnecessarily drag out your case in order to get paid more, which is a risk you might run when dealing with lawyers who get paid by the hour.
  • No Cost If You Lose: If, for some reason, your case is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay attorney fees for the time they put in on your case. This means that the attorney has a whole lot more to lose if things go south, and it also means that if they take your case, they are relatively confident that they can win it.
  • Victims Can Shop for the Best Attorney: A contingency fee arrangement not only allows victims with limited financial means access to legal representation, they are also able to be choosy and shop for an attorney or firm that has a proven track record of success. If you have a viable case, you will have several options to pick from. But even if your case is more complicated and challenging, a firm with extensive experience and expertise might still be confident that they can win compensation for you.
  • Victims Can Focus on Their Recovery: By being able to hand the case over to an attorney on a contingency fee basis, the person who was injured can concentrate on getting recovered without having to worry about covering the upfront legal costs. There is enough stress associated with an injury as it is, and the last thing you need is another major expense to deal with.

Will it be Worth It to Pay a Contingency Fee to An Attorney?

The answer to this question depends largely on the severity of your injury, the complexity of your case, and other specific factors.

For example, if you sustained minor injuries and the facts of the case are pretty straightforward, then you might be able to handle it on your own directly with the insurance company and come out ahead. But if you suffered moderate to severe injuries, there are multiple parties potentially involved, there are questions over who was at fault, and there are other complications, then you will most likely be better off if you obtain skilled legal representation.

The average contingency fee is roughly about one-third of the recovery amount, and ultimately, you will have to decide whether hiring an attorney will be worth it in your case. What we can tell you is how readers responded to this question in a survey conducted by NOLO, the well-known online legal directory. Their survey had two very interesting findings:

  • 91% of those who hired a lawyer received a payout, as opposed to 51% of those who handled the case on their own.
  • Those with legal representation receive an average of $77,600 in compensation, while those without representation received an average of $17,600.

Even when you account for the attorney contingency fee, readers who hired lawyers still received a net payout that was nearly three times higher than those who did not.

Contact a Well-Established West Virginia Personal Injury Firm

As we talked about earlier, when someone gets hurt as a result of another party’s negligence, the contingency fee arrangement means they are not limited in their choice of an attorney or law firm to the ‘cheaper’ options. With this in mind, choosing a firm with decades of proven experience not only costs the same up front, it also puts you in the best possible position to recover maximum compensation. This is exactly what you get when you work with Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C.

To set up a free, no obligation consultation with one of our attorneys, call us toll-free at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 or send us an online message. We look forward to serving you!