What is a Contingency Fee?

A phrase you may come across during your search for a personal injury attorney in Glendale is contingency fee. Offering legal services on a contingency fee basis is a way for injury lawyers to make representation available to everyone. With a contingency fee payment arrangement, the client will never have to pay anything out of pocket for legal services. This ensures a fair opportunity for representation to victims of personal injury accidents in Arizona.

Definition of Contingency Fee in Arizona

The State Bar of Arizona defines contingency fee as a charge for a lawyer’s service that is contingent upon a positive outcome of the case. The client will only pay attorney’s fees if the case has favorable results for the client. In other words, you will not pay for your attorney unless he or she wins your case. If your lawyer does not win your case, you will not owe him or her anything for services rendered.

If your personal injury attorney does win your case, he or she will deduct legal fees from your financial recovery, not from your pocket. Your lawyer will take a pre-agreed upon percentage directly from your settlement or judgment award to pay for services. The typical contingency fee arrangement is one-third of the recovery (33%). However, a lawyer may charge a higher percentage for cases that go to trial or require extra work.

The state of Arizona only permits lawyers to use contingency fee agreements in certain cases. They are not suitable for criminal defense or family law practices. The law states that a lawyer cannot enter into a contingency fee agreement in domestic relations matters, to settle divorce cases or to represent defendants in criminal cases. It also prohibits lawyers from offering these fees as nonrefundable or earned upon receipt.

What to Expect in a Contingency Fee Arrangement

If you retain a personal injury attorney on a contingency fee basis, you should not have to pay any costs upfront. Most attorneys do not require retainers if they are working on contingency. A retainer is an advance some lawyers charge to retain, or reserve, their services. In contingency-based arrangements, most law firms require $0 down to start working on a case. They understand that injury victims are already dealing with expensive medical costs and lost wages, and do not wish to add to victims’ financial burdens.

You should also expect a written contract from your attorney before he or she renders services. The law firm should list the terms of the contingency fee agreement in writing. It should also state the method the lawyer will use to calculate fees; such as the percentage he or she will take from a settlement or verdict in a successful case. The contract should explain whether the fees for court costs, litigation and administrative work would come from the settlement or verdict before or after deducting the contingency fee.

Benefits of a Contingency Fee

A contingency fee arrangement has benefits for both the attorney and the client. For clients, this agreement allows anyone to afford to hire an attorney. It makes it possible for consumers to go up against product manufacturers, insurance companies and major corporations with a fair chance of succeeding, without worrying about the costs of litigation. Since the fees will only come from secured compensation awards, any client can benefit from legal representation regardless of socioeconomic status.

For lawyers, a contingency fee arrangement motivates them to fight for the best possible results for their clients. It can keep attorneys honest and working for the client’s best interests. If the client does not recover compensation, the lawyer will not receive payment. The higher the compensation award, the more the lawyer will receive for his or her work. A contingency fee arrangement during a personal injury claim can benefit both parties. Contact us for expert legal representation, we offer a FREE initial 30 minute phone consultation, call us at (623) 847-7117.