What Is a Contingency Fee?

Do you have questions about your lawyer’s contingency fees? We understand. Navigating the world of legal fees can be confusing if you’re unsure how lawyers set up their fee plans. 

In the legal world, lawyers can either charge by the hour or have a flat fee which clients are to pay under certain circumstances. If you’re about to embark on the decision to hire a lawyer for your legal situation, here’s everything you need to know about the possibility of contingency fees. 

What Is a Contingency Fee?

A contingency fee is a monetary payment you make to your lawyer when your case involves receiving certain compensation. Contingency fees are common in personal injury cases, where you are most likely to receive some kind of award, so the amount you pay for your lawyer’s time and skills is contingent upon your settlement.

The exact amount you can expect to pay for a lawyer’s contingency can vary upon several factors as stated below (but know there can be more factored in depending on your location and the law firm you choose):

  • Complexity and risk of the case
  • Litigation costs
  • Reputation of firm
  • Time spent on case
  • Type of case

If your case is more complex or risky, meaning the outcome is not entirely favorable, your lawyer may have a higher contingency fee. Most lawyers charge about ⅓ or 33%, but this can be increased to around 40% if the case requires more out of your lawyer. On the other hand, if your case is speedy and straightforward, the contingency fee could be lower than 33% to begin with. 

Your litigation costs are what you pay for the other components of the case. For instance, you will be responsible for court processing and filing fees, certain evidence copies, travel expenses, and paying for expert witnesses. 

If you win your case, the contingency fee will be deducted from your settlement but can vary depending on when you pay your lawyer’s contingency fee. For example, if you pay them before your settlement, you could walk away with slightly more than if you were to pay them after you get your settlement since litigation costs will be reduced from your settlement as well. 

How Are Contingency Fees Set Up? 

Your Boynton Beach Personal Injury lawyer may set their contingency fee up one of two ways: hourly or mixed-hourly.

For the contingency hourly option, your lawyer will keep a record of how many hours they work on your case. If your case is successful and you receive a settlement, you will be charged a fee for their hourly rate and how many hours they put in. For example, suppose your lawyer’s hourly rate is $300, and they worked 12 hours. Your contingency fee would be 300 x 12, which would result in $3,600 you owe for their service. 

If your lawyer uses a mixed-hourly rate, they will ask for a small percentage of their hourly rate as they work the case and then receive the rest when and if you obtain your settlement. For example, your attorney’s hourly rate could be $300, but they’ll accept $100 per hour as they work on your case. When you receive your settlement following a favorable outcome, you will only have to be responsible for the $200 per hour left and reduce it from your compensation. 

When you meet with a lawyer who has a contingency fee you agree to, it’s important for you to sign the contract saying you agree to the set amount. This way, you don’t run the risk of the lawyer charging you for more than what you agreed to. 

Are Contingency Fees a Good Idea?

Contingency fees are a good idea if you are someone who does not have the cash to pay upfront; however, there are some drawbacks. 

Sometimes a contingency fee can be higher than paying an hourly rate, which can happen in easy cases that do not require much work on your lawyer’s part. Secondly, this means that lawyers may be more selective in the cases they take on.

To find out your lawyer’s hourly rate and contingency fee options, we highly recommend you sit down for a consultation to see how your personal injury lawyer operates, what their rates are, and decide what you can handle in terms of finances at the moment before you seek extra compensation. 

What Happens If You Don’t Win?

Since lawyers are only paid contingent fees if you win, your lawyer will not make money if you lose your case. However, that does not mean you will not have to pay them at all.

If you lose your case, you will most likely still have to pay your lawyer for the work done on the case and any court fees. Before you agree to work with a particular Boynton Beach Personal Injury lawyer, you should ask them how much they charge for legal work and hear what they believe your most likely outcome would be so you’re prepared financially. 

How to Pay Your Lawyer

Your lawyer’s contingency fee will come out of the financial reward you receive from your case. Modern lawyers will likely use an online invoice system to charge you for their work and contingency fee.

Things to Know About Your Contingency Fee

Are you needing to seek the legal advice of an attorney? Not all cases will be eligible for contingency fees.

For instance, any case involving the practice of family law or criminal law does not allow lawyers to use contingency fees as a payment option. This is because certain scenarios could incentivize wrongful behavior to ensure being paid, which would be highly unethical.

Certain states have regulations on when contingency fees may be allowed. Most of the time, this form of payment is seen in personal injury or workers’ compensation since the outcome is very favorable in the plaintiff receiving a settlement. 

The state of Florida has a rule that the contingency fee must be in writing and signed by the client and lawyer. There are other rules and regulations regarding the use of contingency fees in Florida you can read about here

Questions About Your Contingency Fee? Ask Us

If you are looking for an expert Boynton Beach Personal Injury lawyer, we’ve got you covered. Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers is a firm built of attorneys with more than 40 years in the practice. Our strong reputation and expert knowledge of the strategies used in court make us more than qualified to handle your case.

We understand that legal battles are not always easy to conquer. That’s why we are here to help you every step of the way. Our mission is to help the residents we serve in Florida fight to protect their rights, which is why our contingency fees are set up to be paid only if you win. 

When you are ready to connect with Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, call our 24/7 hotline (561) 800-8000 or fill out our online case form.  Someone will reach out to you to set up your free consultation where you will get to hear how we can best serve and help you seek compensation.

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