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Hiring An Attorney: How Do Contingency Fees Work?

Attorney Fees

Facing and handling legal situations successfully requires the intervention of an attorney. Different attorneys have different pricing strategies. There are many law firms that have attorneys who are paid on a contingency basis. One such firm is Hale Law, P.A. 

This mode of billing creates a provision where the attorney is paid a certain percentage of the damages award. This contingency fee is paid out after the case has been concluded. However, there are certain factors to consider. Such as the agreement details and the state one is located. The fee ranges anywhere between 5% to 50% of the award.

It’s important to keep in mind that if the attorney fails to win the case they don’t get the contingency fee. The fee is entirely dependent on whether the case is won. However, the client may have to facilitate some of the overheads incurred during the process. Such overheads include; discovery costs, expert witness fees, and court filing fees. 

Ideal Cases When Contingency Fees Are Employed

Contingency fees come into play when a client has a complex case and is low on funds. However, the client needs to present a way to collect settlement or judgment and clear liability. But if the case is considered risky due to the lack of clear liability, the attorney may not accept the case. Good examples of where contingency fees apply include compensation cases and civil cases involving personal injuries. 

Other cases where an attorney can accept contingency fees include bankruptcy, sexual harassment, debt collection, personal injury, wage disputes, and professional malpractice. 

Cases Where Contingency Fees Won’t Apply

The law prohibits the use of contingency cases in clear-cut cases that are an obvious win for the client. In such cases, the attorney may be considered to be taking advantage of the client. These cases include criminal law cases and family law cases. Such cases may promote criminal activities and divorce if they are paid on a contingency basis. However, some states prohibit the use of contingency fees in drafting contracts, immigration cases, drafting legal documents, trusts and wills. 

Advantages Contingency Fees

The first advantage is that the client does not incur up-front fees. This prevents the clients from incurring huge legal bills while the case is underway. This gives people with low income access to justice and the legal assistance they need. 

The other advantage is that the attorney works really hard towards the best results in the case. They’re highly motivated by the contingency fees and they strive towards winning the case. 

The client is also cushioned from incurring costs for case losses. If the case is lost, there’s nothing to lose. However, a client may still incur administrative losses. Hefty fees are thus eliminated and clients avoid the risk of losing money. 

Disadvantages of Using Contingency Fees

The main disadvantage of contingency fees is that the client may incur more costs compared to an hourly fee. This is because contingency fees involve a certain percentage of the reward, regardless of how long the case will last. It’s advisable for a client to discuss this with the attorney to avoid future disputes.

The other disadvantage with contingency fees is that attorneys are selective of the cases they take. In some cases, they entirely avoid cases that are risky.

What Are The Approximate Contingency Fees Amounts?

There are many factors that determine the amount of contingency fee a client incurs. Fees structures are divided into different layers, all dependent on the nature of the case. In most cases, this fee is about 33% – 45% of the reward obtained. However, it can be lower or higher, depending on the agreement made. 

Is It Possible To Negotiate The Contingency Fees?

The first consideration to make is the level of risk involved in the case. If a lawyer deems a case to be very risky, it’s hard for them to take the case. This is because they don’t get the payment unless they win the case. However, if the case is strong and the risk is lower, a client can negotiate with the attorney. To do this, the client needs patience. One might have to look around for an attorney who is willing to negotiate. 

Contingency fee agreements are a great option for people who don’t have the funds to hire an attorney on their own but want legal assistance. If you’re considering hiring an attorney and would like more information about contingency fees, please contact our team at Hale Law. 


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