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Contingency Fee

Contingency Fee

Though contingency fees are often charged when an injury lawyer takes on a case, many clients do not know what that means for them and their cases. Furthermore, many accident victims do not know that contingency fees can provide significant benefits to those facing financial hardship.

With that said, when learning how to retain a lawyer for an accident case, you must also garner an understanding of the concept of a contingency fee. Knowing how it works, what it covers, and the rules that cover contingency fee agreements can help you navigate your case. 

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How Lawyers Charge for Representation

How Lawyers Charge for Representation

Private lawyers charge for the legal services they provide, and such legal fees usually take one of the following three forms:

Flat Fees

Lawyers charge a flat fee for a fixed amount of work. It is a form of compensation for the lawyer that covers the completion of a project — your case —  without regard to its outcome. 

Some examples of projects that a lawyer might charge a flat fee include the following:

  • Writing a will or trust
  • Filing a corporation
  • Obtaining a trademark

Injury lawyers rarely charge flat fees, as the cases they take on require an unpredictable amount of work that, in turn, makes it too difficult to charge a single, upfront amount.

Hourly Fees

Lawyers usually charge hourly fees when a project requires an indefinite amount of work. In these cases, clients compensate lawyers for the time they spend on the case, regardless of the result. Thus, a lawyer could get paid for 100 hours of work, even if they lose the case.

Some injury lawyers choose to represent clients for an hourly fee, but these arrangements are rare. They know that most of their clients are suffering from temporary or permanent disabilities that prevent them from working and thus do not have the extra funds to spend on hourly legal fees. Most personal injury attorneys recognize that an hourly pay rate would be unreasonable.

Contingency Fees

The most common fee that injury lawyers will charge is a contingency fee, which gets quoted as a percentage of the compensation recovered at the end of the case. In other words, a contingency fee compensates the lawyer for the results they produce. The more the lawyer recovers, the more they are paid for their services. If the lawyer obtains no compensation, the client pays no fee.

The exact percentage will vary from lawyer to lawyer, but the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct requires lawyers to set a fair fee based on the following factors:

  • Their experience, reputation, and ability
  • The work required and the novelty of the issues presented
  • Any time limits imposed on their work
  • The customary fee charged by other lawyers

As such, an experienced lawyer might charge more than a lawyer who has just formed a new practice. You might also pay a higher fee if your complex injury case involves multiple parties and insurers.

What Does a Contingency Fee Cover?

A contingency fee often covers most aspects of your legal representation, such as:

  • The initial case evaluation to review your legal rights and explain your options
  • Investigating your claim and gathering records
  • Preparing your insurance claim and responding to any claim denials
  • Dealing with insurance company tactics and negotiating to settle your claim
  • Preparing a lawsuit if your case does not settle
  • Drafting and responding to discovery requests
  • Filing and replying to pre-trial motions
  • Presenting your evidence and legal arguments at trial

A contingency fee may not cover all aspects of your case, such as an appeal or litigation costs. Your lawyer may pay certain expenses to keep your case on track, and at the end of the case, you must reimburse the lawyer for their expenditures. 

Examples of litigation costs include the following:

  • Court reporter fees for depositions
  • Court filing fees
  • Medical record fees

Before hiring a lawyer, you should ask about all the fees and costs you will incur during your case. You can then use that amount to compare the fees charged by different injury lawyers and law firms.

Benefits of Contingency Fee Arrangements 

People who suffer traumatic injuries due to someone else’s actions face many obstacles. Their injuries might disable them, preventing them from working. Without a sustainable income, they might not have the resources to pay for medical treatment and therapy.

With these pressures in mind, contingency fees provide several benefits for clients. Accident victims can hire high-quality lawyers, and the lawyer will start work without any upfront payment. Additionally, the client will only need to pay a fee if the lawyer settles or wins the case.

The most important benefit, though, is that a contingency fee allows injured victims to conserve their resources. Instead of paying lawyer fees, the client can focus on healing.

Hiring a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer With a Contingency Fee 

Lawyers who charge contingency fees can help you fight for compensation without the need for any upfront costs. Do not hesitate to contact our attorneys at Zehl & Associates Injury & Accident Lawyers to learn about legal fees and how a contingency fee may help you. You can call us at (888) 603-3636.