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How Does a Contingency Fee Work in a Personal Injury Case?

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Posted By DAM Firm | June 21 2021 | Personal Injury

One of the main reasons that many people avoid seeking legal assistance after they sustain an injury is that they think they cannot afford legal fees. After all, it is no secret that personal injury cases can become costly. However, many personal injury attorneys throughout California handle cases on a contingency fee basis for clients. Here, we want to discuss what a contingency fee is and how this will work when it comes to repayment after the case reaches a conclusion.

Who Pays the Contingency Fee?

What happens in these situations is that the attorney will pay all of the upfront money needed to fund the ongoing personal injury case. The personal injury victim will not be responsible for paying any of the fees associated with their claim.

How Much is the Contingency Fee?

It is crucial for the injury victim and their attorney to work out the contingency fee before any work begins on the case. In general, the contingency fee will be a predetermined percentage of whatever the final personal injury settlement or jury verdict will be. It is not uncommon, in a California personal injury case, for a contingency fee to be one-third or 33.33% of the final personal injury settlement amount.

However, the contingency fee may fluctuate upwards if the case goes to a full personal injury trial or if the case must be appealed. You need to speak to your Orange County personal injury attorney about contingency fee percentages before working on the case. Additionally, you should speak to multiple attorneys about your case and see if they are willing to handle the case at a lower contingency fee percentage.

What is Covered in a Contingency Fee?

As we mentioned above, the contingency fee will cover all of the upfront costs and legal fees associated with the case. Some of these costs can include:

  • Paying for investigators to look into the claims
  • Discovery costs
  • Paying for expert witnesses
  • Court costs and filing fees
  • Overhead and incidentals
  • The attorney or paralegal’s hourly fees
  • …and more

The reality is that these costs add up very quickly. Most injured individuals do not have the resources to handle these cases on their own. The opposing party will likely have deep pockets, and they will have attorneys and insurance carriers defending them. By working with an attorney who will take a case on a contingency fee basis, you will have someone by your side with the resources necessary to stand up to these other parties and obtain the compensation you need.

What if Your Claim is Unsuccessful?

One of the best parts about a contingency fee arrangement is that the individual injury victim will not be required to pay back any compensation in the event their attorney is unsuccessful with their case. This is part of the agreement. However, you need to be aware that an attorney will not take just any case on a contingency fee basis. They will want to make sure that they have a good chance of success if they are going to put up all of the money on behalf of an injury victim.

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