If you are in an accident, the last thing on your mind should be how to pay the bills. Your focus needs to be on recovering from your injuries, but it is only natural to worry about the mounting costs that go along with treatment and repair to your property. For personal injury cases, this worry is partially removed by the type of fee agreement you enter with your attorney for handling your case. It is common for personal injury attorneys to take cases on a contingency fee basis. This legal term of art seems complex, but in practice is more easily understood. At its root level, this type of agreement means that if you don’t receive an award for your case, your attorney doesn’t get paid either. You are not out of pocket any fees, because payment of fees is contingent upon you receiving a favorable outcome.
The Law Dictionary defines contingency fee as a fee arrangement between lawyer and client whereby the following terms are put in place:
- The client pays nothing up front for legal services.
- An attorney fee is paid out of funds received in resolution of the case.
- The amount of attorney fee is a percentage of the total award.
By entering into a contingency fee agreement, a hurt person is able to avoid the burden of coming up with funds to start their case. When entering this type of fee agreement, it is crucial to put the exact terms in writing, so there is no confusion as to distribution of funds later. Some agreements award the attorney a certain percent of the total award at settlement of the case, and a different percent if the matter cannot be settled and requires trial. The purpose of the contingency fee agreement is to allow a litigant their “day in court”, without the added pressure of receiving monthly attorney fee bills. The benefit to this type of arrangement is that an injured party can get the care they need, knowing a positive outcome is important to their attorney as well. Before beginning work on your case, we make a point of making sure you are comfortable with the fee agreement and understand its terms.
If you have been in an accident, call our office to learn what steps to take next and to learn more about the different types of attorney fee agreement available. Let an experienced attorney help you figure what is best for you. Call a Bloomington, Minnesota personal injury attorney today.