Usually, lawyers get paid for their legal services. This is understandable as they do not always provide free services. However, as their services are often pricey, people who can’t afford them are denied justice. One exception to this is in personal injury cases. For most personal injury cases, like car accidents, slip and falls, premises liability, etc., lawyers would often take the case on a contingency basis. This article will discuss what a contingency fee is and what it entails.
What Is a Contingency Fee?
A contingency fee is a payment to an attorney for legal services that depends or is contingent upon there being some recovery or award in the case. The cost is usually a percentage of the amount recovered. Under a contingency fee agreement, the lawyer does not receive any fees for their services if the case does not end favorably.
A contingency fee is usually used in personal injury cases. However, it is not often allowed in criminal cases and divorce cases. In the case of a criminal case, there is usually no money to be recovered, while a lawyer operating with a contingency fee arrangement may discourage attempts at reconciliation in a divorce proceeding.
What Are the Advantages of a Contingency Fee?
Seeing the popularity of contingency fees in personal injury cases, we look at some of its advantages. This is by no means an exhaustive list.
A Contingency Fee Helps More People Access Legal Services
Without contingency fees, many people would be unable to access legal services. Imagine, for example, that a single mother of three has been involved in an accident for which she shares no fault. All of a sudden, she has to spend on her medical bills in addition to all the bills she must already have. Such a person may elect not to pursue her case in court, choosing to spend her money on her medical bills. However, she can get proper compensation for her injuries and other losses with a contingency fee agreement.
More Motivation for the Lawyer
Knowing that they would not get paid if a case does not have a successful outcome, a personal injury lawyer would put their best into winning the case. This influences their decision to accept a case or not. There are probably a few lawyers who would take cases with no guarantee of winning if they are not paid, but they are in the minority. This is also why contingency fees are not often seen in criminal or divorce cases.
What Are the Disadvantages of a Contingency Fee?
As you may expect, there are some disadvantages of a contingency fee, and we will look at a few of them below.
Some Cases Would Be Ignored
Not all personal injury cases are straightforward. Some could get complicated for numerous reasons, and some are impossible to win. For example, imagine that an accident occurs and there are no eyewitnesses or street cameras to capture what happened. Such a scenario would be demanding for any lawyer and increase the chance of losing the case. As a result, a lawyer may be reluctant to take on such cases if they are not paid in such a situation.
Similarly, a lawyer may turn down the opportunity to represent a client if they do not see a way to collect the damages. In addition, some states put a cap on how much can be charged as a contingency fee. This could make lawyers refuse to take cases with a cap on their earnings.
It Could Be Costlier Than Paying the Lawyer’s Hourly Rates
A contingency fee requires that a client pay the lawyer a percentage of the compensation. While it allows people who would have otherwise not hired a lawyer to get representation, it may be higher than the lawyer’s hourly fees.
Speak to a Personal Injury Lawyer in Atlanta
Have you been hurt as a result of someone’s negligence? Do you know anyone who has been hurt due to another’s negligence? Have you held off pursuing a personal injury case because of finances? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be interested in hiring a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta.
At Calvin Smith Law, we have recovered over $1 billion for our clients, and we have the knowledge and experience to take on your personal injury case. Our skilled personal injury lawyers are itching to fight for you, so give us a call today.