What Is a Contingency Fee?: How Much Do I Have to Pay Upfront for an Injury Lawyer?

The impact of a personal injury can be devastating. From medical bills to daily costs, if you’re unable to work, you can’t take care of expenses that are piling up. You need compensation, but you aren’t getting anywhere with the at-fault party or their insurance company. They try to deny your claim or give you a lowball offer. So, you begin looking for help. 

You’ve seen advertisements for a personal injury lawyer but have never given these ads much thought. Now, you reconsider and pick up the phone. “Wait a minute,” you think, “lawyers are expensive. I can’t afford one right now.”

If you’ve been concerned with the cost of legal fees, you’re not alone. One survey found that 29% of respondents who experienced legal problems sought any form of advice to help them better understand their situation. Why? A large portion of these individuals thought the cost of hiring a lawyer to help them would be too expensive. 

If your life has been severely impacted by an injury you’ve suffered, you shouldn’t let the cost of hiring help stop you from doing so. Many personal injury lawyers make paying for their services easier by utilizing a payment method called a contingency fee. How does it work? Stick with us to learn more about the contingency fee, why it works for personal injury cases and why we use them to help our clients get the compensation they deserve.

What Is a Contingency Fee?

While there are a few variations, essentially, the contingency fee is based upon a percentage of your case’s earnings. The lawyer’s fee comes out of the money awarded to you. The fee is contingent upon your lawyer’s success in the case, so you only pay if you win. 

How Do Contingency Fees Work?

In a free consultation, a personal injury lawyer should be able to assess your case and determine your potential compensation. Then, they can determine what percentage it would take to pay for their representation. From there, you can agree to services or look for help elsewhere. If you accept, it allows your attorney to begin working without a significant upfront fee.

What Determines the Cost of a Contingency Fee?

You may be wondering, “how much do lawyers usually take out of a settlement?” While we can’t give you an exact number, we can talk through some of the factors that can go into calculating a contingency fee. A few include:

  • Time and labor required for the case – This is the attorney’s estimation of how long it will take to research your case, gather evidence, develop courtroom arguments, update you on your case and complete other essential tasks. 
  • The complexity of the case – The complexity or difficulty of your case will affect the amount of time your lawyer will need.
  • Time limitations set by the client or outside circumstances – If your case is time sensitive, it may cost more to provide the necessary services to obtain your compensation quickly. 

What a Contingency Fee Is Not: Extra Costs Associated With a Personal Injury Case

There are other legal costs outside of your lawyer’s time. Four common costs you will see include:

  • Court and filing fees – There are costs involved with filing your formal complaint and getting your case into the courtroom. 
  • Discovery costs – These are the costs associated with the initial gathering of information surrounding your case. 
  • Expert witness fees – Many experienced personal injury lawyers have connections through their years of representation. So, they have a wealth of individuals they can consult with to testify on your behalf. However, most of these witnesses require a fee for their time and research into your case. 
  • Overhead and incidentals – This category would include any other associated costs with your case. 

What Law Firms Use Contingency Fees?

Contingency fees are more commonly used in civil law, which includes personal injury and workers’ compensation. These types of law firms lean toward contingency fees over hourly or flat fees because of the end goal: securing financial compensation for a client.

Professional and Ethical Standards for Contingency Fees

National and state bar associations have a set of professional and ethical standards for contingency fees. In a personal injury case, the contingency fees are clearly listed in addition to expenses in a written contract to hire an attorney. 

This standard is designed to help both parties. It helps the client understand what they are paying for and an explanation of the fee.

Three Reasons Why Contingency Fees Are Favorable for the Client

  1. Contingency fees can improve access to legal help – Many firms use contingency fees to help more clients who don’t have the immediate funds to pay for an attorney’s help.
  2. Contingency fees shift risk away from the client – If you’re dealing with a serious injury, the last thing you want to do is worry about paying for legal representation on top of your medical bills and lost wages. If a lawyer agrees to a contingency fee, the pressure is on them to get a successful outcome, not you because the attorney is risking his time and money for your benefit. 
  3. Contingency fees incentivize lawyers to maximize compensation – If you’re paying a lawyer an hourly wage of $400 to $500 an hour, you may feel pressure to settle earlier than you should due to the weight of legal costs. However, in the case of a contingency fee, your lawyer has a vested interest in the outcome of your case. It’s a win-win scenario.

What Are You Paying for When You Call on Tolbert Beadle?

If you’re dealing with a severe injury due to no fault of your own, you want to work with a lawyer who will help you get the compensation you deserve. At Tolbert Beadle, you only pay us if you win. And when you pay us, you’re paying for:

  • Experienced legal counsel – Our team has decades of experience in personal injury, auto accident and worker’s compensation law. We’ve helped our clients recover millions of dollars in compensation. 
  • Upfront, transparent communication – You don’t have to worry about getting left to wonder how your case is going. Our team is known for providing top-rated service to our clients.
  • Relentless, battle-tested determination – We are driven to get justice for those who are in need. It’s what pushes us to fight for our clients. 

Don’t wait to call. Start a chat with us today or visit our contact page to fill out an injury form. We want to help you get the compensation you need to get your life back on track.