What Are the Benefits of Hiring an Attorney Who Only Gets Paid If I Win?
Regardless of whether or not you’ve ever required the services of an attorney, you probably know the many different ways lawyers charge their clients. Some prefer hourly rates, while others opt for a contingency fee. With contingency fees, the lawyer doesn’t collect a fee unless the client wins the case. If the lawyer wins the case on your behalf, and are working on a contingency fee basis, they then have access to a percentage of your award. The fee is typically one-third of the amount awarded, but this amount can be lower or higher depending on a variety of circumstances. From not having to fork over cash upfront to working with a lawyer who has a results-based mindset, here are some of the main advantages of contingency fees.
Levels the Playing Field
Unfortunately, many personal injury victims never take legal action because they can’t afford to pay experienced lawyer hundreds of dollars an hour. Contingency fees are the one device in law that gives injured people of moderate financial means a fighting chance against larger corporations and insurance companies. For example, if you suffered pelvic inflammatory disease because of your Mirena IUD, Bayer Pharmaceuticals has an entire legal team dedicated to handling lawsuits and other legal matters. In comparison to corporations, personal injury victims have limited resources and finite budgets. In these instances, contingency fees open the courthouse doors to lower-income people who would otherwise not have access to the legal assistance they deserve. In some cases, contingency fees can even be negotiated, giving clients even greater flexibility.
Advice You Can Rely On
At the end of the day, lawyers working under a contingency fee model are motivated to get their clients the maximum possible recovery. For this reason, they won’t bill you for empty hours or give advice based on their own personal interests. Instead, they’ll revolve every aspect of the case around your best interest: winning the case. Many clients who have worked with lawyers who charge an hourly fee and lawyers who prefer contingency fees find that they have a better relationship with the latter. Since they don’t have to worry about the “meter running,” they’re more comfortable asking their lawyer questions or calling them up for advice.
No Out-of-Pocket Expenses
Under the traditional corporate law firm billing model, clients pay upfront legal fees out of their own pockets. Not only are clients expected to pay thousands of dollars out of their own pockets, but they’re expected to do so without any guarantee of a recovery. Worst case scenario? Clients end up empty-handed after investing thousands of dollars into their case. Best case scenario? They win the case and barely break even. Lawyers who work for contingency fees typically cover the expenses associated with litigation, including filing fees, accident reconstruction, expert witnesses, court reporters, medical illustrators, and the cost of travel, just to name a few costs. Since lawyers who work for contingency fees are experienced in estimating costs and know they’ll be paid only if the client wins, sensible lawyers will take less risk and spend only as much as necessary.
In a contingent fee arrangement, the lawyer’s pay is directly related to the results he or she obtains for the client. For this reason, they’ll be highly motivated to get the optimal result. In contrast, hourly fee arrangements can encourage laziness, inefficiency, and unnecessary action, with the mindset being that they’ll still be paid regardless of the outcome. This unique risk-sharing feature of contingency fees creates an incentive for lawyers to work hard and obtain the best results possible. When the personal injury attorneys at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield accept your case, we become your partner; our lawyers will align their interests with yours, which we believe correlates to the comprehensive representation you deserve.