If you are suffering from an injury because of an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be wondering if you should hire a lawyer to help you obtain compensation for your losses. If you are concerned about the cost of a lawyer, you need know the difference between lawyers who work on contingency and those who do not. This is a huge difference when it comes to when lawyers are paid and the total cost for their services.
Below, we discuss the differences between a contingency fee and non-contingency fee arrangement. The qualified Cincinnati personal injury lawyers at our firm take cases on contingency, which is advantageous for the reasons explained below. Contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation.
What Is A Contingency Fee?
In most areas of the law, lawyers get paid for the legal services they provide. This is usually based on a certain hourly rate or standard fixed rate.
However, under the contingency fee system, payment depends on whether your attorney secures compensation for your case. If your attorney is able to obtain a settlement or jury verdict, his or her fee is taken out of this award, usually as a certain percentage of the award. However, if your lawyer does not win your case or is unable to settle it, you do not owe him or her anything for attorney fees.
It is important to note, however, that there is a difference between legal fees and legal costs. Legal fees are compensation for your attorney’s time and effort and are not guaranteed in a contingency fee arrangement. Legal costs are other costs associated with your case, such as:
- Filing fees – You usually have to pay a fee to file a case in court.
- Court costs – There may be additional costs that you have to pay to the court or to subpoena witnesses.
- Discovery costs – Your attorney may conduct depositions, or you may have to pay for copies of documents.
- Expert witness fees – The cost for these witnesses to testify, prepare a report, and/or review your case can be very high.
- Incidental costs – You may be charged for other expenses that stem from your case, such as long-distance phone call charges, copying and postage.
Your attorney may pay for these costs upfront while your case is pending, but you may be required to reimburse him or her once your case settles. Information about these costs should be included in your retainer agreement.
What Is A Non-contingency Fee?
Many cases are non-contingency cases in which the attorney is paid on an hourly rate, flat fee or some other version that is not conditioned on the outcome of the case. Additionally, many clients are charged a retainer fee that serves as a down payment for a certain amount of time or investment in the case. The client may then be billed once these funds are exhausted.
The non-contingency rate is often based on many factors, such as:
- The complexity of the case
- The attorney’s level of expertise
- The amount of time that the case is estimated to take
- The opportunities the lawyer will miss by taking the case
- The estimated resources the case will take
Because accident victims generally do not expect to be injured by an accident, they may not have the resources necessary to pay attorneys up front.
Benefits Of Contingency Fee Attorneys
There are several benefits to hiring a contingency fee attorney, including the following:
- You do not have to pay unless you win – Many accident victims do not have the money to pay attorney fees of upwards of $400 per hour. Additionally, individuals who pay an hourly rate may not get anything out of it if they do not win their case. Contingency fee arrangements allow you to only pay when you have a solid benefit: a settlement or court judgment.
- You will get straight answers – Contingency-fee attorneys are not going to tell you that you have a case when you do not. This will simply waste your time and theirs. Attorneys paid by the hour are paid for each hour that they work, even if their efforts are fruitless.
- You may be able to delay legal costs – Contingency-fee lawyers may advance your expenses of litigation, which can often be substantial. If your attorney advances, you do not have to worry about out-of-pocket expenses up front.
Contact An Experienced Attorney For Help
If you were injured in an accident and would like to understand more about the contingency fee arrangement, contact the legal team at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy. We can explain our fee structure and how we can assist you with your case.
Our reputable attorneys have recovered tens of millions of dollars in compensation for personal injury victims.