Contingency Fee Lawyers
If you have read our Injury Compensation Claims Guide, you will have seen that many people have an incorrect assessment of personal injury compensation claims in the USA, and often the same misconception applies to those who represent personal injury claimants – “Contingency Fee” lawyers.
Inasmuch that it is perfectly understandable that contingency fee lawyers in the USA could be perceived as “too good to be true”, once you investigate the terms and conditions of a contingency fee conditional fee agreement, the true meaning of “Contingency Fee” becomes much more transparent.
The Myth of Contingency Fee Lawyers
Misleading television advertising has given the impression that if your “Contingency Fee” lawyers fail to win your personal injury claim you will not pay a penny. This is not the case. If your lawyers lose your “Contingency Fee” injury compensation claim, you are liable for the expenses your lawyer has accumulated in pursuit of your personal injury claim – and also the defendants legal costs.
What “Contingency Fee” lawyers in the USA are saying when they pronounce their costless service, is that you will not pay their legal fees should they not be successful in pursuit of compensation on your behalf. You will still be most likely responsible for “disbursements” and, more importantly, the costs of the person responsible for your injury defending their case – an amount which could be considerable.
Contingency Fee Lawyers and After the Event Insurance
Most people hold some form of legal fee insurance coverage on their car insurance or household contents insurance policies. Often this is enough to cover the costs you may be liable for should your lawyer lose your “Contingency Fee” injury compensation claim, but it is recommended that you check this prior to entering into a contingency fee conditional fee agreement.
Even if you have legal fee insurance coverage, lawyers may also advise that you take out “After the Event” insurance – a further insurance policy which protects you should your “Contingency Fee” lawyer lose your claim and expose you to a substantial financial liability. The cost of this additional insurance can be recovered should you win your “Contingency Fee” injury compensation claim, so it is a good idea to have it in any event.
Contingency Fee Lawyers and Success Stories
It is not all bad news however, and although you should be cautious about engaging a “Contingency Fee” lawyers without discovering exactly what you may be financially liable for, most “Contingency Fee” injury compensation claims end in success. This is primarily because “Contingency Fee” lawyers will only take on cases which they have a good chance of winning.
Therefore, if a lawyer advises you that he is happy to represent you in a “Contingency Fee” injury compensation claim, you can be fairly sure that he or she considers that you have a strong case. This news, although welcome if you have doubts about your eligibility to claim personal injury compensation, also comes with a proviso – the “Contingency Fee” lawyer´s success fee.
Contingency Fee Lawyers and Success Fees
The “Success Fee” is an additional charge made by “Contingency Fee” lawyers who undertake personal injury claims on a conditional fee agreement. It is often quoted as a percentage on top of their legal fees and although “Contingency Fee” lawyers in the USA are allowed to charge up to 100% above their regular legal fees, very few charge more than 30%.
The “Success Fee” compensates a lawyer for taking on a case in which there is a chance he may not win – no matter how strong he suggests your claim is – and is usually claimed from the defendant along with his regular legal fees and disbursements. However, should a judge consider the total legal costs payable by a defendant to be excessive, he will cap what the losing party has to pay, and you – as the successful claimant – are then personally liable for your lawyer´s success fee.
No Win No Fee Lawyers Summary
“Contingency Fee” lawyers in the USA provide an important function to a certain group of people who may otherwise be denied access to compensation for injuries sustained in accidents for which they were not to blame. However, it is important to discuss your potential liability with a lawyer before committing to a contingency fee conditional fee agreement. The key factors to note are:-
- If you win your “Contingency Fee” injury compensation claim, the legal fees due to your lawyer will be paid by the losing “negligent” party. Any disbursements and a success fee should also be claimed from the defendant but, should the total be excessive, you may be personally liable for a portion of the costs. The defendant has to meet his own legal costs.
- If you lose your “Contingency Fee” injury compensation claim, your lawyer will not charge you a legal fee, but he will more than likely have accumulated some disbursements in the pursuit of your claim which you will be liable for. You will also be liable for the defendant´s legal fees, but these can be claimed back from an “After the Event” insurance policy or an existing car or household insurance policy.
Obviously, if your lawyer loses your “Contingency Fee” injury compensation claim, he is not entitled to a success fee but, should he win, any liability for his success fee will not be covered by “After the Event” insurance, and will be deducted from your compensation settlement.
Confused About Contingency Fee Lawyers?
If you have any questions about “Contingency Fee” lawyers in the USA, or would like to find out whether you qualify for a conditional fee agreement, you are invited to contact our freephone injury claims advice service and speak directly with an experienced lawyer. Our lawyer will be able to establish that you have a claim which is worth your while to pursue, advise whether you qualify for a no win no fee conditional fee agreement and discuss alternative methods of pursuing your claim if the terms of a “Contingency Fee” injury compensation claim are not ideal for you.
There is no obligation on you to proceed with an injury compensation claim once you have spoken with us, and naturally all calls to our freephone injury claims advice service are completely confidential. As experienced lawyers, we understand that you have recently been through a traumatic experience and we will not pressure you into making a decision on the initial telephone call. It is in your best interests to understand exactly what you are undertaking when you make a claim for personal injury compensation in the USA, and we are here to help you – in a dedicated and professional manner.