What is a Contingent Fee?

By: Frank H. Bailey, Founder/Senior Partner

How Does a Contingent Fee Work?

The American legal system allows a type of fee arrangement referred to as “a contingent fee agreement.”  Often the injured person does not have money for legal representation on the front-end.  Frequently the expenses associated with the accident have overwhelmed them financially.  Because of contingency fee agreements, you can go ahead and hire the very best attorney that will work on a contingent fee basis.  A contingent fee agreement means you and the attorney are in a type of partnership.  The attorney accepts the risk upfront.  If the attorney is unable to make a recovery, then the attorney does not receive a fee.

What Is the Standard Contingent Fee?

In most states, the standard contingent fee for an automobile accident is one third to the attorney and two thirds to the client of the amount recovered.  For more complicated and high-risk cases attorneys charge as much as forty five percent of the amount recovered.

Some younger attorneys who are just starting out will charge a lesser amount, but the old saying, “You get what you pay for,” applies to these attorneys.

How Does a Contingent Fee Agreement Work With Case Expenses?

All cases require additional expenses to be properly worked up for settlement.  An attorney that accepts the case on a contingent fee basis will normally advance those costs.  Costs normally include expenses for copies of medical records, expert witness fees, postage, and Court filing fees.  If there is a recovery, the attorney will get reimburses for those costs the attorney advanced.  If there is no recovery, the attorney will normally lose those advances.

If you have questions about contingent fees, our experienced attorneys will be glad to answer your questions.  Just give us a call 479-202-5200.