What is a Contingency Fee for a Lawyer?

Gavel on table

Most personal injury cases, the client does not pay anything to the attorney out of their pocket. This is because personal injury cases are generally paid a contingency fee. A contingency fee is an agreement between the attorney and the client of a percentage of a settlement or judgment that the attorney will receive at the end of the case. If your case is successful and is settled or a judgment is awarded, your attorney will collect a percentage of that. In the event the case is unsuccessful, meaning no settlement was reached or judgment awarded, the attorney will collect no fee. The South Carolina Judicial Department outlines the consideration and requirements of an attorney-client contingency fee agreement.

Rule 1.5 states that an attorney must not collect an unreasonable fee.

There are a variety of factors that are taken into consideration to determine whether a fee is reasonable or not.

  1. The time put into a case. The more difficult the case, or more questions and issues it poses, the more time will be needed to handle the case.
  2. Whether the attorney taking on a case will prevent the attorney from being able to take on other potential cases.
  3. The fee that other attorneys in the area generally charge.
  4. The amount of judgment or settlement received.
  5. Whether there are any time limitations that the client imposes.
  6. The attorney-client relationship.
  7. The experience of the attorney handling the case. Also considered is the reputation and ability of the attorney.

Additionally, there are other requirements if a contingency fee agreement is made.

The agreement must be:

  • In writing,
  • Signed by the client,
  • Clear about the method in which the fee is calculated,
  • Clear in stating the percentage the attorney will collect from the settlement or judgment, and
  • Clear about whether any expenses will be subtracted from the total amount, independent of the contingent fee.

You might be wondering how are you supposed to know if your attorney is worth the fee. You must sit down with your attorney and come to an agreement over what the fee should be. Ask your attorney questions about their past cases to get a feel for how your case might be handled. Your attorney should be able to give you concrete examples of personal injury suits they settled or took to trial and received a judgment. If a case is similar you yours, you can potentially get an idea of what your case could be worth. Of course, there is no guarantee that your case will result in the same result as other cases. Do your homework to find the right attorney for your needs.

If you or a loved one have been injured and are seeking a personal injury lawsuit, Double Aught Injury Lawyers. can help. Our attorneys are dedicated to your case and getting you the best result possible. Years of experience have resulted in skills to attack your case relentlessly. We want to fight for you so that you can focus on healing. Contact us today for your FREE case review.