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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

What Is a Contingency Fee for Personal Injury Claim Matters?

Personal injury cases can take a series of different forms, and one of the concerns that clients will have is cost. After all, legal services are very intricate and people need to know if affordability will be a concern at any point.

The most common personal injury attorney people will see in Texas is a contingency fee attorney. Here's a look at what this means and how payment will work for these cases.

Understanding Contingency Fees

Understanding Contingency Fees

As expected, a contingency fee is a form of payment for legal services. This means that the amount the attorney will take is based on the settlement that is awarded. Additionally, the attorney is only going to be paid if you win your cases.

This is the basis upon which most Texas attorneys will take your case. Both the client and the attorney will need to agree on what the percentage will be based on an agreement. Once the settlement is awarded, the agreed percentage will be deducted from the agreement.

Depending on the nature of your case, the compensation received may cover a series of bases including:

  1. Medical expenses incurred

  2. Disabilities

  3. Lost wages

  4. Loss of enjoyment

  5. Emotional distress

  6. Note that the money for the contingency fee will be paid over before you receive the remainder. Note that the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct only allow contingency fees for civil cases.

What Influences the Final Amount Personal Injury Attorneys Will Charge?

If an attorney was supposed to have an upfront payment requirement with an hourly fee agreement, for example, you may find that the amount charged from one case to the next follows a pattern that can be easily understood.

However, one attorney who uses a contingency fee basis may end up with wildly different final billings for clients, and this is because of the number of variables that go into what that final figure will look like. Some of the considerations are:

  1. The kind of injury case at play

  2. What the attorney's track record will look like

  3. What kinds of certifications the attorney has

  4. The location of the case

The rule of thumb is that attorneys with greater experience and more resources may require higher percentages. Be that as it may, leaning on the expertise of a seasoned lawyer is more likely to ensure the best possible outcome.

You also have to think about settlement timing. Most personal injury cases will be settled without a trial and these will usually cost a lot less than those that are settled in a courtroom. This is because the sheer need for trial introduces other payment variables including record retrieval, court filing fees, etc., that the law firm will need to consider in bringing the case to closure.

In any event, there will still be no payment unless the attorney recovers compensation successfully, so with a contingency fee, there is never a scenario in which a client is presented with a bill and there is simply no money to cover it.

What Costs Come with Personal Injury Cases and Who Will Pay Them?

During the course of pursuing your claim, there will be several costs that are incurred. Some of the more common ones are:

  • Investigator fees

  • Expert witness fees

  • Trial preparation costs

  • Postage costs

  • Service of process fees

  • Deposition fees

Depending on the lawyer retained, all these may be covered from the attorney side, after which they will be deducted from the settlement proceeds. In other cases, some attorneys will request that the clients handle these costs when they come along.

The best way to proceed is to ensure that there is a proper discussion with the lawyer before agreeing to anything so you have a grasp of what it is you should expect to pay when the time comes.

Is a Contingency Fee Agreement Good for the Client?

A contingency fee agreement can be amazing for the client as if nothing else, it eliminates the need to worry about where the money will be coming from to pay for the case.

If this wasn't an option, clients would go through court proceedings wondering where they would get the funding and probably end up in a subsequent case where the lawyer that once defended them is now the one trying to get money from them through the legal system.

Alternatively, there would be a requirement to pay at the onset from funds that simply aren't there. Bear in mind that injury victims will usually have medical and other expenses to deal with because of the accident that occurred. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also answer questions like, "Does emotional distress count as personal injury?"

Before Signing Contingency Fee Agreements

A contingency fee agreement sounds great for all of the reasons presented above. However, you need to remember that your engagement with a personal injury lawyer, as passionate as the person may be, is still a legal matter.

Therefore, you will bear the responsibility for any oversights that you may make in signing the contract. It is your exclusive duty to ensure that you understand everything that you are signing up for. What percentage do most personal injury lawyers take? What payments will you need to make? When will the attorney be paid?

Other questions may come to your mind that you should get clarification for. Read the contingency fee agreement thoroughly and do not sign until you are certain that you have a proper grasp of what is going on.

A seasoned attorney will be able to provide you with all the answers you need at this early stage.

Will Every Lawyer Use a Contingency Fee Basis?

Will Every Lawyer Use a Contingency Fee Basis?

Different personal injury lawyers will approach cases in different ways and they are allowed to do this. Since these are civil cases, the state of Texas allows for the use of the contingency fee approach. However, do not assume that all injury lawyers in Houston will use it as some will want to be paid upfront.

Speak to a Passionate Personal Injury Attorney for Free Today!

If you've been injured because of someone else's negligence, you need the support of a legal team that will go to war for you!

At Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, we are passionate in our fight to recover fair compensation for our Houston clients with a contingency fee agreement.

Schedule your free consultation today by calling (833) 692-5038!


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