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What Are Contingent Fee Arrangements, and How Do They Work?

We handle cases on a “contingent fee” basis, which means our fee is “contingent” (or dependent) on the outcome of your case. In other words, we don’t get paid unless your case settles or goes to trial and wins.

What is a typical contingent fee?

Most lawyers charge 33% (or one-third) of the gross amount recovered in cases of motor vehicle accidents and general negligence cases. The fee is usually higher in complicated medical malpractice and product liability cases.

Why is the contingent fee higher in cases of medical malpractice and product liability?

Medical malpractice and product liability cases are riskier, more complex, and more labor-intensive than most other personal injury cases. Few attorneys actually handle medical malpractice or product liability cases, and even fewer handle them well. The increased fee takes these things into account.

Do I have to pay my attorney anything beyond the contingent fee?

There are almost always expenses associated with pursuing a personal injury and medical malpractice claims. Case expenses may include the cost of obtaining records, filing fees, expert witness fees, costs associated with depositions, etc.

We advance all expenses so the client isn’t initially out of pocket. When the case is settled, clients are responsible for reimbursing those case expenses.

What can I anticipate in terms of case expenses?

Case expenses vary widely, depending on the case. Some cases resolve without the need to incur any expenses. Other cases (typically complex medical malpractice cases) may involve multiple experts and witnesses; in these cases, case expenses can easily exceed $50,000. We are not unmindful that our clients are ultimately responsible for case expenses, so we are judicious about those expenses we choose to incur.

What happens if my case doesn’t settle, and I don’t win at trial? Do I still have to pay you?

To be clear, if your case doesn’t settle, and if we don’t get a verdict in your favor, you don’t owe us anything.

Why are contingent fee arrangements beneficial to me?

Contingent fee arrangements are beneficial to clients for a number of reasons. First, the lawyer assumes the risk of losing; that is, the client is not “out of pocket” anything unless there is a settlement or favorable verdict. Second, the lawyer is incentivized to get the best possible outcome for his or her client; after all, the lawyer’s fee is directly proportional to the client’s recovery.