You’ve probably heard the term, contingent fee, but do you know how it works?  A contingent fee is dependent on the success of the legal representation and is the customary payment for a personal injury attorney.  Attorneys in other practice areas take an hourly fee. Charging an hourly fee for personal injury cases doesn’t work because of the amount of time spent on these cases. The fees would be exorbitant. Contingent fees are a percentage of the recovery for the client. The usual percentage ranges are from thirty-three to forty percent, depending on risk and degree of difficulty.  If there is no recovery, there is no fee.

Fees are not to be confused with costs. Costs are expenses incurred by the lawyers in processing the case and are the responsibility of the client.  They might include court fees, expert witness fees, travel expenses, administrative expenses, etc. When a case is successfully closed, the costs come from the client’s share of the recovery. If there is no recovery, sometimes the attorney will absorb the costs if they are too expensive for the client to pay.

Contingency fee arrangements have been used in the legal profession for a long time. Contingent fees allow individuals, who might not be able to afford to on their own, to bring their case to court. It also encourages attorneys to fight for the best possible recovery for their client.