What is a Contingency Fee?

If you or somebody you care about has sustained an injury caused by the actions of another individual or entity, you should be able to recover compensation for your losses. However, securing full compensation without assistance from an attorney can be very difficult. It may seem like an impossible task to be able to afford an attorney to help with your personal injury case, but have you heard of a contingency fee arrangement? 

Many personal injury attorneys will take cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you will not have to worry about paying any legal fees until after the case is over with. Here, we want to discuss the contingency fee more in-depth.

How Does a Contingency Fee Work for Washington Personal Injury Claims?

There’s no reason to expect injury victims to be able to afford every aspect of a personal injury claim filed against the alleged negligent party. Nobody expects to be involved in litigation, so why should they have a fund set aside just for this?

The good news is that personal injury lawyers do have the money necessary to handle these claims. When a personal injury lawyer in Washington handles a case on a contingency fee basis, this means that they will be paying all of the upfront and out-of-pocket costs related to the claim. The injury victim will not have to pay anything while their case is ongoing. 

Of course, this does not mean that the attorney will not receive any money at all. The whole idea behind a contingency fee is that an attorney will receive a portion of the final insurance settlement or jury verdict amount.

What is the Overall Fee?

It is very important for individuals working with an attorney to understand what percentage of the final settlement or jury verdict they will have to pay their attorney in legal fees. A Seattle personal injury attorney will not begin working on your case until after the contingency fee has been agreed on by both parties. Contingency fees are not cheap. In general, we find that an attorney will usually range between 33% and 40% of the final settlement or jury verdict amount.

For example, if an attorney settles with an insurance carrier in your case for $100,000, you would not receive that full amount. Essentially, you would receive around $66,000, while the attorney would receive the remaining $33,000 (if the contingency fee is 33%).

Why would an injury victim agree to a contingency fee and not just handle the case themselves?

Personal injury claims can be incredibly complicated, particularly when negotiating with aggressive insurance carriers or preparing a case for trial. When a person works with an attorney, they are much more likely to receive a higher settlement amount than if they handled the case by themselves. In that theoretical example above, the individual who sustained the injury may have only been able to get $30,000 total out of an insurance company. That is far less than they may have received even after working with an attorney.

You need to work with an attorney who can fully explain the benefits of a contingency fee to you. When you work with a Washington personal injury lawyer, they should be able to explain how they will handle your case and help you determine whether or not a contingency fee is in your best interest.