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Contingency – the Key to the Courthouse

Oftentimes when potential clients call Curcio Law the first question they ask is, “How much will your services cost me?” When someone has just been in an accident, they’re vulnerable, hurt, and uncertain about the future, and the last thing they should have to worry about is how much their lawyer is going to cost. In this blog, I want to explain and outline the benefits of contingency fees.

A contingency is defined as a provision for a future event or circumstance that is possible but cannot be predicted with certainty. A good example of a common contingency is a nest egg, which is money set aside to be used in the future, either to buy a house or cover any unforeseen costs in case of an emergency. A contingency fee in regards to a legal setting is a fee taken only if the desired result, or settlement, is reached. So if you were to settle a claim for $100,000 and the contingency fee was 33% of that settlement, your attorney would earn $33,000, leaving you with $67,000.

Hold the phone, I can see you saying, that’s a lot of money! While it is a good chunk of the settlement let’s discuss how contingency aids the client.

There is no risk to you, the client.

Contingency fees are only paid if the claim is successful. If the attorney loses the case, the client walks away owing no attorney fees. In this way a contingency fee allows ANYONE to hire a lawyer. No matter your financial situation, by retaining an attorney with a contingency fee, you pay no fees unless settlement is reached. (It is important to note that even on a contingency fee basis, clients are responsible for court costs and filing fees.)

You get the pick of the litter.

Often when signing a lawyer that charges hourly, clients end up “settling” for a lawyer in their price range, and do most of their research based on fees instead of past experience and outcomes. When attorneys implement contingency fees, clients can research and choose which attorney they are most comfortable with, and money is not an issue. In this way, everyone can gain access to and retain a seasoned attorney who would normally be too expensive due to their ample experience.

 

Your best interests are shared by your attorney.

I’m not saying an hourly paid attorney doesn’t have your best interest at heart but the priorities are different. An attorney with a contingency fee will only be paid if the claim is successful, so they will work harder, faster, and will fight for the highest amount possible. Their paycheck depends on it. An hourly attorney is still fighting for your rights, but they will be paid regardless of the outcome.

Contingency Attorneys are honest about the validity of your claim.

Let’s face it, there are some really bad claims out there, think back to the aunt who sued her nephew for hugging her. If you are that aunt and you consult an hourly paid attorney, they’ll sign you on quickly, because, in the end, they’re not going to lose money by taking your bad claim. However, if you were to consult an attorney working on contingency, they would explain why pursuing your claim would be a poor decision. Furthermore, they would refuse to sign you because they have too much on the line to sign a case they know would be unsuccessful.

In the end, contingency fees level the legal playing field, allowing anyone access to a good lawyer. There’s a saying: A contingency fee is the poor man’s key to the courthouse. With more attorneys implementing contingency fees, more and more people from many different backgrounds are able to fight for the compensation they deserve. This is especially helpful in personal injury claims where there can be lengthy discovery phases and time-consuming processes.

Regardless of the fee structure, the most important aspect of an attorney/client relationship is trust and confidence. Only sign with an attorney whose abilities you feel confident in and who treats you with respect.

 

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