When involved in a car accident and you’ve had to invest in the help of a lawyer to help guide and assist you through the legal process, you’ll have heard that you’ll need to pay a contingency fee. It doesn’t matter what the outcome of your court process is, whether you’re guilty or not guilty; this is a fee that needs to be paid.
However, if you haven’t dealt with contingency fees before, it can be a little confusing which is why we’ve put together this guide to help you understand the ins and outs of the term, so you know exactly what you’re dealing with.
What is a Contingency Fee?
Just so we’re on the same page, a contingency fee is a term in your lawyer’s agreement that states that a fee is to be paid by the client when their representing lawyer resolves the case they’re working on, usually in favour of the client. Basically, if your lawyer wins your case, you’ll need to pay the fee.
However, ‘resolving the case’, is open to interpretation, but refers to one of two things happening. Either your lawyer is able to get compensation out of the person you’re against in court, or the court offers the case closure in your (the client’s) favour.
If your lawyer doesn’t win the case, you won’t need to pay a contingency fee.
Do You Always Need to Pay a Contingency Fee?
You may have seen a ton of lawyer ads over the last few years that go somewhere along the lines of working on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis, so surely this means you don’t need to pay a contingency fee? Well, that’s not entirely true. You need to make sure you’re always reading the fine print of your legal agreement to see if you’re paying a fee.
These are known as ‘costs’. Sometimes, even when you lose, a law firm will still request you to pay a fee to their firm. Sure, you’ll need to pay the standard costs, but extra fees will be described in your terms and conditions, and if you don’t read them first, you could be shocked at how much you’re charged, regardless of the outcome.
Don’t worry, if you’re able to seek out and work with a law firm providing top-notch legal representation, you won’t have to worry about hidden fees coming out of nowhere.
How Much Does a Contingency Fee Cost?
Unfortunately, there’s no fixed fee or percentage that all law firms operate when it comes to contingency fees. Typically, if you wanted an average, it would sit around the 33% mark, and this varies anywhere between the 25% and 40% mark. As always, make sure you get this percentage from your chosen law firm first before you go into a contract, so you know exactly what you’re going to be dealing with.
As you can see, contingency fees don’t have to be complicated fees to understand and work with, but if you’re not aware of what they are, what the percentage is, or reading the small print and terms and conditions of your law contract, you could be caught out and may end up paying a lot of money. Make sure you’re being mindful of your contracts and researching around to find the best prices for you.