Personal Injury Case Payment: How Does a Contingency Fee Work?

Personal Injury Law Firms

If you are involved in an accident and suffer personal injuries because of someone else’s negligent behavior, it is imperative to hire legal representation for assistance. Attorneys can field settlement offers and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. If the insurance company does not offer a fair settlement, then an experienced litigator will take your case to trial and advocate for you in front of a judge.

Two of the most common questions prospective clients and personal injury plaintiffs ask include:

  • What are the fees for the attorney going to be?
  • Who is responsible for paying the fees?

The majority of personal injury lawyers provide their services on a contingency fee basis. This means you aren’t charged a lawyer’s fee unless you are able to recover money in your case. Some more information on how a contingency fee works can be found here.

Who is Responsible for Paying the Contingency Fee?

Contingency fees are paid out of the settlement, verdict; or judgment that is received. If the case settles without going to court, then the expenses and contingency fee will be paid out of the proceeds from the settlement, and a net check is going to be issued to the plaintiff at the end of the case. If the case winds up going to trial and the jury awards the money, then the attorney’s fee will be paid from the total jury award.

When will the Contingency Fee be Paid?

The contingency fee is paid following the conclusion of the jury trial or after a settlement is reached with the other party’s insurance company. In contingency fee arrangement, you don’t have to worry about any hourly fees, or having to make payments while your case is moving through the litigation process.

What is the Settlement Disbursement Sheet?

When your case is finished, before your payment is released, your attorney is going to prepare a settlement disbursement sheet. This will list the total settlement that you were awarded and then outline the deductions. These deductions include attorney’s fees, medical bills, file expenses, and lien amounts that are subtracted from the funds.

You have the opportunity to review the sheet and then sign and return it to your attorney. At this point, you will receive a check for the amount left over.

What is the Contingency Fee Agreement (CFA)?

Before an attorney begins working on your case, they will request that you fill out a CFA. This agreement establishes the percentage fee that will be subtracted from the settlement you receive. Once this document is signed and returned to the attorney, they will begin working on your case.

How Much will the Contingency Fee be?

The percentage that your attorney requires as payment will depend on several factors including the complexity of your case, extent of the damages and injuries and if a lawsuit has been filed. In some cases there is some negotiation room with the percentage, so keep this in mind when choosing an attorney.

Working with a personal injury attorney is beneficial because you don’t have to worry about paying anything up front. The contingency fee plan ensures you get the settlement you need, as well as the representation you require.