Having a written agreement about fees that your lawyer will charge to represent you should always be a priority. Most lawyers are very careful to put their fees in writing, and many states even require it. The agreement should specifically state what costs you will be paying for your personal injury claim. Keep reading for more information about contingency agreements and how they may benefit you.
What Are Contingency Agreements?
When it comes to personal injury lawsuits, most people find it difficult to come up with a substantial amount to pay a lawyer in advance. Additionally, it would be hard to pay an hourly wage to a lawyer as the case goes on since fees can be high. As a solution to this problem, most lawyers who take on injury claims use a contingency agreement. These typically require no money upfront to begin with and instead will take a percentage of the client’s award or settlement.
This type of agreement can be great for both lawyers and clients, however, they are not cheap. Because the lawyer is taking a risk and not charging you upfront, fees are higher. A typical personal injury case will see a contingency fee of somewhere between 33% and 40%.
Is a Contingency Agreement Right for You?
When deciding whether or not to hire a lawyer using a contingency fee basis, it’s important to determine whether the economics of your injury justify the expense.
For example, it could be worth your while to hire a lawyer on a contingency basis if the insurance company is either refusing to pay you or is offering you very little, but the damages in your case have the potential to be very large. In this situation, you have little to lose.
Alternatively, if your claim is rather small it may make more sense to even handle the case by yourself. This will ultimately depend on your comfort level when it comes to going to court without a lawyer.
Lastly, if the insurance company has offered you an amount that you believe is too low — but is still a substantial amount — you would need to compare what they are offering you to how much more a lawyer could be expected to get. If your lawyer can expect to get an additional 15% but then charges 33% of your entire settlement, then it may not make much sense to go forward with it.
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