A contingency fee is when a client pays fees to a lawyer who handles a case successfully. This arrangement between a lawyer and a client is only used in cases where there is money to be claimed. In a divorce case, there is no money claimed, so there is no possible contingency fee. In an accident case, there is money to be claimed for injuries and damages. The lawyer agrees to accept a fixed percentage of the final settlement.
Contingent fee agreements are valid only in civil cases and are frequently used in personal injury cases.
Here are some helpful tips when it comes to contingency fee agreements:
- All contingency agreements must be in writing.
- Fully understand what percentage of your settlement will go to your lawyer.
- If you and your lawyer are not working out and you wish to seek other council, you may terminate your lawyer. However, the terminated lawyer is entitled to compensation for the value of work already done.
- Do your research on the attorney before hiring him or her. Get to know who will be representing you and know if they are willing to fight for the highest amount.
- Always be open and honest with your lawyer about damages or injuries. This will ensure that you get the best results with your case.
- No question should go unanswered, so ask your lawyer anything that comes to mind. If you have a notebook or post its that are readily available, jot down anything that comes to mind and bring that to your appointments with your attorney.