Understanding Contingency Fees in Personal Injury Cases

December 17, 2019

If you’ve been injured in an accident — whether a motor vehicle accident, slip-and-fall, or some other scenario involving the fault of another party — then you may have a right of action against the defendant for damages.  Despite the fact that an injured plaintiff may be entitled to compensation under the law, however, they sometimes choose to avoid legal action on account of cost concerns.

This concern is not borne out in reality, however.

Personal injury litigation services rarely require any up-front fees.  Our Bethlehem personal injury lawyers provide litigation services on contingency.  This is a very good thing for prospective plaintiffs, as the use of contingency fees creates an attorney-client dynamic that is favorable to them.

How does it all work?  Let’s examine the basics.

Contingency Fees Are Not Owed Unless You Win

Contingency fees are quite simple.  When you enter into a contingency fee arrangement with a personal injury firm, the firm is offering to represent you and cover all the out-of-pocket costs associated with litigating the claim (i.e., retaining experts, conducting an investigation of the facts, securing evidence, courtroom appearances, time spent on negotiating with the opposing side, etc.).  You pay nothing, and the firm advocates on your behalf throughout the dispute process.

Now, if you do not obtain compensation for your injuries, the firm will absorb those costs and you will not have to pay anything.

However, if you do “win” by successfully obtaining compensation for your injuries (whether through a negotiated settlement or in a trial verdict), then the contingency fee kicks in and you will have to pay a portion of your damage award to the firm for assisting you.  This fee may vary depending on how early the firm resolves your claim.  If the claim is resolved before trial, the fee tends to hover around 35 percent, whereas if the claim is resolved at trial, the fee goes up to 40 percent of the total damages.

The Contingency Fee Dynamic

The contingency fee dynamic has a net positive impact on the plaintiff’s interests, as an attorney who is working on contingency is incentivized to resolve the claim efficiently and to maximize the total compensation you receive.  For example, an attorney working on contingency will directly benefit from helping you secure $1 million in total compensation, and from doing so quickly (where feasible to do so) to avoid running up the costs.  This dynamic ensures that you are being represented effectively at every stage of litigation.

Accidents can put an enormous financial and emotional burden on the victims and their families.  It’s therefore critical that the victim secure comprehensive legal assistance as soon as possible.

Many prospective plaintiffs adopt a wait-and-see approach with litigation, concerned that they will run up a large bill for legal services — in fact, most personal injury firms offer their services on contingency, so you don’t pay until and unless you successfully obtain compensation.

Our Bethlehem Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help – Contact Us Today

Contact our experienced Bethlehem personal injury lawyers to schedule a free and confidential consultation today.