Contingency Fee: Understanding a Contingency Fee Agreement

You may have heard the advice that you should hire a Las Vegas car accident lawyer if you have been involved in a car accident. While that is very good advice, you may also be under the impression that personal injury law firm services are expensive. With a newly damaged car and mounting medical bills, you may wonder how you will ever pay for the services of a lawyer. In order to offer the services of a lawyer to individuals who do not have the money to pay the lawyer immediately, the legal community has created the contingency fee agreement. That leads to the question, “what is a contingency fee?”. A contingency fee lawyer is a lawyer who gets paid from the settlement that the lawyer gets for you. A contingency lawyer can be a lifesaver for many people. However, what are the details of a personal injury lawyer in Las Vegas taking a case on contingency?

Common questions regarding lawyer contingency fee

What is the contingency fee basis?

The attorney contingency fee is based on a percentage of the settlement or award that the attorney gets on your behalf.

What is the percentage of the attorney contingence fee?

Most lawyer contingency fees are one third of the recovery that the lawyer obtains for you. The percentage for a contingency fee can fluctuate, but, like anything else, you often get what you pay for. Contingency fees can also change after a case begins. With some attorneys who work on a contingency fee basis, the percentage they charge will change as the case moves from one phase to another without settlement. For example, a contingency fee may increase to 40% after a lawsuit is filed. Also, some lawyers may decrease their contingency fee from one third later on in the case. For instance, if your lawyer’s fee turns out to be higher than the amount that you personally recover, the lawyer may decrease their fee to ensure that they do not take home more money than you do. It is important to discuss this with your attorney before hiring them, as not all lawyers will agree to this arrangement.

What if the lawyer is not able to get any money for me?

If the lawyer is not able to get any money for you, then the lawyer does not get paid. In other words, the lawyer only wins if you win. This creates a great incentive for your lawyer. Your lawyer should be very motivated to work hard on your behalf, as a lawyer that does not get paid does not last as a lawyer for very long. You can also rest assured that the work that is being done on the case is necessary. While a business lawyer may get paid on the amount of time he or she spends on the case, a contingency fee lawyer’s fee is not tied to the amount of time spent on a case. This can be both a pro and a con, depending on the case. If your lawyer spends two years working on your case, his or her fee will be one third of your recovery. On the other hand, if your case settles after just one week, your attorney’s fee will still be one third of the settlement.

Can all lawyers be hired on contingency?

Not all lawyers can be hired on contingency. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee, while most criminal lawyers do not work on a contingency fee. In prison or out of prison after a criminal case, your lawyer will likely be paid. Also, family law attorneys are actually prohibited from working on a contingency fee.

Why can’t I find a lawyer to take my case?

One potential disadvantage of a lawyer working on a contingency fee is that a contingency fee lawyer may be more reluctant to take on your case. Since contingency fee lawyers only get paid if they obtain a recovery for you, they may not take on a case that they see as high risk. Therefore, the contingency fee may preclude some people from being able to hire a lawyer or make it very hard for some people to find a lawyer. If you can’t find an attorney to take your case on a contingency fee, this is a clear sign that you don’t have a good case.

What if I hire a new attorney before my case ends?

If you decide to switch attorneys halfway through your case, the fee agreement you have with your first attorney will likely change. If little Billy, who grew up down the street, just graduated from law school and you want to hire him because you have lunch with his mom every Tuesday, you can of course hire him. If you do hire him and fire your old attorney, then you will likely get a bill from your first attorney, which lays out how much you will owe them for the work that they have done on the case up to that point. As you can see, a contingency fee is a unique arrangement that has both pros and cons. However, its place in the legal world is here to stay, as it offers legal services to many people who would otherwise be prevented from receiving help after they have been involved in an accident. Indeed, some courts have called the contingency fee the key to the courtroom for the indigent.


If you’ve sustained an injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, contact the Nevada personal injury attorney team at Valiente Mott Injury Attorneys today for a free consultation.  We are a team of legal experts that will help you navigate through the complicated legal process.

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