Personal Injury

What is a Contingency Fee or a Contingent Attorney’s Fee?

Chandler | Conway

Chandler | Conway

Wednesday September 19, 2012

A contingent attorney’s fee, or contingency fee, is a fee arrangment where the client is not responsible for paying his or her lawyer unless they are successful in recovering either through settlement or at trial.  Contingency fees are only allowed in cases where there can be financial recovery, and they are most often seen in personal injury cases, such as auto accident injury claims (car accidents, motorcycle accidents, trucking accidents, etc.), dog bite claims, medical malpractice claims and wrongful death actions.

In a contingency fee contract the client agrees to pay his or her lawyer based on a percentage of recovery.  An advantage to this type of arrangement is that it gives many people access to the courts who otherwise would not have the means to hire counsel, and it allows the client to pursue their injury claim with the peace of mind that they will not end up on the hook for thousands of dollars in legal fees.  Contingency fees often come under scrutiny, as they sometimes result in enormous attorney’s fees; however, the flip side is that they also often result in a $0.00 attorney’s fee.

In Nebraska, most any lawyer who handles personal injury or wrongful death claims on a regular basis does so on a contingency fee basis.  The typical arrangement is one third, or 33%, of the client’s gross recovery; however, often times there are different agreements between lawyer and client depending on the type of action (i.e. slip & fall vs. car accident), the facts surrounding the claim, the likelihood of recovery and the cost of litigation.  If you have been injured in an accident do not hesitate to ask questions regarding your potential fee agreement before retaining counsel.  Some questions you may want to ask are: what happens if there is no recovery, what happens if the recovery is not enough to cover all medical bills and fees, and who is responsible for fronting claim costs and costs of litigation.


Chandler | Conway

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