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How Do Personal Injury Law Firm Contingency Fee Contracts Work?

Home » Frequently Asked Questions » Personal Injury » How Do Personal Injury Law Firm Contingency Fee Contracts Work?
how do personal injury law firm contingency fee contracts work

How do personal injury law firm contingency agreements work? These agreements involve a lawyer taking your case in exchange for a percentage of any compensation they recover on your behalf. 

Attorneys utilize many types of fee agreements, including paying a flat rate or by the hour. One of the most important questions to ask during a consultation with a Chicago personal injury lawyer is how their fee agreement works. 

The Basics of a Contingency Fee Agreement Are Straightforward

A contingency fee agreement is a binding contract between an attorney and a client. These agreements are commonplace in personal injury cases, and the basic terms involved are largely the same. 

With a contingency fee agreement, the attorney agrees to handle a personal injury case for a percentage of any compensation recovered on the plaintiff’s behalf. This percentage can vary from one attorney to another, so discussing that amount during a free consultation could be helpful. These fees often range between 25 and 40 percent of what an attorney can recover. 

This agreement benefits plaintiffs, especially those who lack the resources to pay for an attorney out of pocket. By accepting the case on a contingency basis, the attorney will not require any upfront legal fees to begin work. Some accident victims would not be able to pursue compensation if they had to pay up front. 

A contingency fee could also provide you with peace of mind, as your attorney’s compensation is tied to the success of your case. They would agree to take on your case if they did not think they could win. What’s more, your attorney could be motivated to work tirelessly for your success and their own. 

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Consider the Difference Between Fees and Costs

While contingency fee agreements will prevent you from paying any attorney fees up front, you still might be required to pay other expenses out of pocket. In addition to legal fees, there are also costs associated with a personal injury lawsuit. 

Legal fees are paid directly to your attorney. They are effectively their compensation for handling your case. Costs are other necessary expenses related to your case that are not paid to the attorney. Some examples include:

  • Filing fees
  • Court costs
  • Photocopy expenses
  • Expert witness fees
  • Deposition costs

Because these costs are outside of a lawyer’s compensation scope, they are not considered legal fees. That means you could be on the hook for these costs – win or lose. 

Carefully review the terms of a contingency fee agreement before you sign. One area where these agreements can differ dramatically is how they deal with costs. Contingency fee agreements typically require the plaintiff to pay all case expenses. However, some attorneys will pay the costs directly or cover them to be reimbursed after the case settles. 

You Options When Hiring a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney

The vast majority of personal injury lawyers handle cases on a contingency-fee basis. However, that is not the only fee structure used in the legal field. In other areas of the law – including family law – contingency-fee agreements are not allowed. 

One of the most commonly used types of fee agreements involves billable hours. Under this system, attorneys have an hourly rate, and they track the amount of work they do down to the minute. This approach usually requires a retainer, a pool of money paid up front to the attorney. 

Other lawyers also operate on a flat fee basis. With this approach, the attorney charges a single flat fee to handle a case from start to finish. This fee is usually paid up front. This approach is not typically used in personal injury cases. 

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Some Lawyers Discuss Contingency-Fee Agreements During Free Consultations

Still unsure how personal injury law firm contingency agreements work? Given that they can differ from one firm to another, you could learn the specifics directly from your prospective attorney. 

Things to ask your lawyer during a free consultation include:

  • What will your firm do for me?
  • What can I do to make your job easier?
  • What should I do when the insurance company calls me?
  • Can you visit me at home or in the hospital; do I need to visit you in the office?
  • How often will you provide updates about my case?
  • How long do I have to file my lawsuit?
  • What are the next steps in my case?

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Call Our Team to Discuss Our Payment Options and How Our Lawyers Can Help You

The Kryder Law Group, LLC offers free consultations to injury victims seeking justice. One of the ways to take advantage of a free consultation is to ask us about our contingency-fee approach. 

We are proud to advocate for the injured, and believe you deserve to move forward with your case regardless of your financial situation. Call (312) 223-1700 for your free consultation and learn more about how we could help.

Call or text (312) 223-1700 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form