If you were injured in an automobile accident chances are you sought legal advice to determine if you were entitled to compensation for your injuries. The media is flooded with Personal Injury firms advertising that they can help you get paid. And better still, you do not have to worry about paying the lawyer any money upfront, because they do not get paid until you do! To the individual involved in the accident this is a win win scenario. So then why didn’t the lawyer take your case?
Most lawyers handling personal injury claims agree to represent individuals involved in an automobile accident on a contingent fee basis. This means that the fee ultimately paid to the lawyer is determined by a percentage of the final recovery. In other words if your lawyer agreed to a one third contingent fee and your case settled for $10,000.00 your lawyer would receive approximately $3,333.33 for his or her services. Additionally, in most contingent fee scenarios the lawyer agrees to advance any costs associated with the case (filing fees, court reporter fees, records request fees, etc.) This means that the client does not encounter any costs to pursue their claim. Probably the most attractive feature of a contingent fee scenario from a client perspective, is that if your case does not yield compensation by settlement or verdict, you do not owe the lawyer any money (you will have to reimburse the firm for case expenses only).
When you breakdown the dynamics of the contingency fee scenario it becomes very obvious that all of the risk associated with the case belongs to the lawyer. The lawyer is investing his or her time and money into the case with the expectation of yielding a profit from the final settlement or verdict. For this reason many firms will not accept a client unless a careful cost benefit analysis promises a favorable outcome. When you realize that all of the risk associated with the case rests with the firm, you will have a better understanding of why a lawyer may or may not decide to accept your case on a contingent fee arrangement.