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What Does It Mean if a Personal Injury Lawyer Charges Contingency Fees?

Posted on August 2, 2021

If you were recently injured in an accident in Pennsylvania, you may be searching for a personal injury lawyer to handle your case. One phrase you may consistently see is “contingency fee basis.” This refers to how the personal injury lawyer charges legal fees. A contingency fee means you will not have to pay unless the lawyer successfully obtains you a settlement award or favorable jury verdict. Contingency fees may make it possible for injury victims to afford to hire an attorney after a serious accident.

What Are Normal Contingency Fee Charges in Personal Injury Cases?

Most firms that use contingency fees charge for their services by taking a percentage of a client’s settlement or verdict award. There are no fees upfront, and you will only have to pay at the completion of your case. Before handling your case, an attorney will have you sign a contingency fee agreement that contains the terms of how legal fees will be paid. You will agree ahead of time on the percentage the attorney will deduct from your final award. Most firms have a contingency of about 33%, or one-third, of the final award. For example, if a settlement yields $100,000, your lawyer will keep about $33,000 as their fee for representing you.

Some attorneys increase or decrease their contingency fee percentage based on how your case is resolved. For instance, if you must go to trial, your lawyer may take up to 40% for their legal fees since the case will require more time and work. All potential fee information should be available upfront, and it is critical that you understand the exact terms of your agreement before retaining a personal injury lawyer.

If I Lose My Case – Does My Attorney Still Collect a Fee?

If you retain a lawyer on a contingency fee basis, they will not collect a fee if you lose your case. However, any expenses such as depositions, filing fees, court reporter fees, and witness fees typically remain your responsibility to pay. Although the attorney may advance some of those costs to you if you cannot afford them, you are responsible for reimbursing your attorney for those costs, whether you win or lose.

Types of Compensation Available If You Win

Personal injury victims often recover the following types of damages:

  • Medical bills, current, and future
  • Lost wages from being unable to work
  • Loss of future earning capacity due to disability
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish or emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium for new limitations placed on families
  • The loss of enjoyment of life
  • Punitive damages (when applicable)

Punitive damages are only awarded in cases involving particularly reckless or egregious behavior. They are intended to punish the at-fault party and deter others from similar conduct.

If you or someone you love was injured by someone else’s negligent or reckless actions, reach out to Rosenbaum & Associates. We handle cases in Philadelphia on a contingency fee basis. Call (215) 569-0200 to take advantage of a completely free initial consultation today.