What are contingency fees, and why do they benefit legal clients?

Lawyers work on contingency fees in order to work for clients that cannot afford to pay lawyers at an hourly rate. In many areas of law such as personal injury, clients typically do not have the funds necessary to pay lawyers by the hour for their case. In order to serve these clients, attorneys draw up contingency fees that a client does have the means to accept. Contingency agreements present a couple different advantages for clients. Let’s take a look at the major benefits of hiring an attorney based on contingency fees.

Clients Are Not Affected by Case Length

When an attorney agrees to take a case and they’re working on contingency, they cannot charge more based on the length of the case. Typically, if a case ends up being more complicated than expected, it can take several months of work and have associated court fees. Normally, an attorney would charge their client more money if their case ended up taking longer than expected, but contingency agreements prevent this from happening, as attorneys will still only collect an agreed upon portion of the settlement.

Clients Cannot Lose Money

Contingency fees prevent attorneys from collecting money out of pocket. These fees are based on a percentage of the expected settlement. If your lawyer is unable to secure a settlement, your lawyer will collect no further fees from you. If your lawyer is only able to secure a settlement that does not cover court fees, it is not your responsibility to cover the difference out of pocket.

Lawyers Accept Contingency Arrangements on Simple Cases

Because of the benefits that contingency arrangements provide to clients, attorneys are put at risk when accepting them. When cases are overly-complicated or take longer than expected, attorneys made end up losing money. To prevent these sorts of situations, lawyers likely only accept cases that they think will be relatively quick or simple. Lawyers may adjust their contingency rates based on the predicted outcome as well. For very short and simple cases, lawyers may ask for a contingency fee of up to 50%. For a case of average length and complexity, fees range from 33% to 40%. If a lawyer wants to take on a case that may take a long time but will have a large payout, fees may drop to as low as 15%. However, every lawyer will evaluate and predict the outcome of a case differently.

Experienced Attorneys in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

While researching for this post, I came across some helpful information from the Law Office of William J. Luse. Attorneys at the Law Office of William J. Luse accept cases on based on contingency fees in a number of different practice areas. These include personal injury, employment law and civil litigation. The Law Office of William J. Luse also takes on criminal defense cases such as DUI and drug charges, but contingency fees are not available for these types of criminal cases. This is because criminal cases do not result in settlements the same way that other civil cases do.


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