Understanding Attorneys’ Fees: How Does a Contingency Arrangement Work?

If you want to file a personal injury claim but doubt you can afford legal counsel, think again. Most reputable firms accept cases on a contingency basis. They recognize the financial struggles that accident victims face, so they take their fee out of the payout that results. And if the claim doesn’t yield a settlement or judgement? Well, then they won’t charge for their services at all. 

To ensure you can enter into a contingency arrangement with confidence, here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on the subject:

1. How Much Is the Contingency Fee?

Since every firm has their own unique fee structure, there’s no universal answer to this question. Generally speaking, however, contingency fees range from 33 to 40 percent of the recovered payout. 

While the fee might be higher than 40 percent in some scenarios—if the claim ends up going to trial, for example, it’s considerably more work for the firm—lawyers are prohibited from charging an “unreasonable fee.” A number of factors determine whether a fee is reasonable, including:

  • The time and labor the firm puts in,
  • The payout that results,
  • The difficulty of building the claim,
  • The fee customarily charged under similar circumstances, 
  • Any limitations imposed by the client or the situation, and
  • The scope of the representation that’s provided. 

2. Are Clients Responsible for Any Expenses Besides the Contingency Fee?

As mentioned above, you’re not responsible for attorneys’ fees if your claim does not yield a payout. Regardless of the contingency arrangement, however, you may still owe other fees. Examples include court costs, investigation expenses, and similar charges.

While such expenditures shouldn’t amount to an unreasonable sum, you’re going to want to be prepared to cover them if your claim process unsuccessful. Before hiring a lawyer, ask for an itemized list of any additional fees they charge clients, so there are no surprises down the road. 

3. Can I Shop Around for a Firm with a Low Contingency Fee?

You have every right to compare law practices. Just keep in mind that like most things in life, you tend to get what you pay for when it comes to legal representation. As such, you don’t necessarily want to hire the firm that charges the lowest fee. 

4. Can the Firm Increase Their Contingency Fee if the Claim Proves Difficult to Resolve?

Since most personal injury claims are settled, firms rarely have to adjust their fee structure. When a case proceeds to trial, however, it’s not uncommon for the practice to raise their fee to cover all the additional work they must perform.  

As long as your lawyer is transparent about their fee structure from the start, you should be able to trust them. During your first meeting, ask under what circumstances their fee might increase. 

Speak with a Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney 

Looking for a reputable personal injury firm in Nevada? Turn to Maier Gutierrez & Associates for the personalized attention you deserve and the strategic counsel you need. Call 702-629-7900 or submit our Contact Form to schedule a free initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Las Vegas.