What is a Contingency Fee?

You were seriously injured in a car accident in the San Fernando Valley and as a result, you have decided to meet with a few lawyers. They've told you that they will take your case on a contingency basis, which sounds good, but what exactly does it mean? Generally speaking, it means that clients owe no attorney's fees and will not be required to pay any costs until a recovery is obtained for the client in the case.

A contingency fee is a payment to an attorney for legal services that depends, or is contingent, upon financial recovery or award in the case. In other words, under this payment structure, your lawyer will not collect a fee if you do not win. If you win, the payment to your attorney is a percentage of the amount recovered, which can differ for each attorney and/or law firm. Discuss your personal injury attorney's contingency fee arrangement with him to learn more.

In California, contingency agreements are frequently used in personal injury cases (and are not valid in criminal cases). A contingency fee agreement must be in writing and include:

  • The method by which the fee is to be determined
  • The percentage or percentages that shall accrue to the lawyer in the event of settlement, trial or appeal
  • The percentage or percentages that shall accrue to the lawyer in the event of settlement, trial or appeal
  • Litigation and other expenses to be deducted from the recovery
  • Whether litigation expenses are to be deducted before or after the contingent fee is calculated

Discuss these points in more detail with your personal injury lawyer.

Personal injury lawsuits can be timely and expensive. However, a contingency fee arrangement provides individuals who could not afford to pay costly attorneys fees with access to the courts and to the ability to recover financially for injuries suffered, such as medical bills, lost wages, emotional trauma, and pain and suffering.

Again, contingency fees are generally used in lawsuits involving personal injuries. If you have been injured as a result of another's negligence, whether it be the negligence of an individual or business entity, reach out to experienced trial lawyers who will work with you on a contingency fee basis.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Barry P. Goldberg, A Professional Law Corporation | Attorney Advertising

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