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What Does it Mean to Work on Contingency?


To many people, especially everyday workers, hiring a lawyer sounds like an impossible expense. Because of this, many lawyers, particularly those dealing with personal injury or workers’ comp, operate on contingency. This essentially means the lawyer only gets paid if you do. This “no win, no pay” agreement dates back to the early 19th century and is the most common arrangement in personal injury law.

What Are Contingent Fees?

Contingent fees are only collected if your lawyer wins your case. Upon accepting your case, your lawyer will agree to a fixed percentage of your recovery (the amount awarded to you) to serve as their payment. Typically, this percentage ends up being about 30% of the recovery, but it can be as low as 15% or as high as 50% of your winnings. If you lose your case, neither you nor the lawyer gets paid. If you win, the lawyer will take a previously-agreed-on portion of the money awarded to you. While you do not have to pay your lawyer for work provided if the case is lost, you may be responsible for filing fees and other court-related costs.

Is a Contingency Agreement Right for Me?

In personal injury or workers’ compensation lawsuits, uncertainty is the name of the game. Neither you nor your lawyer can predict your settlement or verdict. A lawyer who is working on contingency is investing unpaid work into your case. If they don’t win, they don’t get paid for the hundreds of hours they spent working on the outcome of your case. As such, they have incentive to make sure you receive the best possible results.

Still, it is important to negotiate the right contingency fees and talk to your lawyer about separate expenses. A good lawyer will only agree to a contingency agreement if you have a strong case, so choosing the right attorney is essential. A free consultation with The Law Office of George P. Escobedo & Associates, PLLC will help you evaluate the strength of your case.

Calling us at (210) 807-3178 could be the first step in finding the right attorney and winning your case.

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