If you or a loved one are the victim of someone else’s negligence, you may find yourself looking for a personal injury attorney. This is likely a confusing and painful time, and we want you to know that it is normal to be overwhelmed. We know this is new territory, and you never imagined any of this would happen. With so many questions and unknowns, we want to help break down some commonly-asked questions about personal injury lawyers and cases. Today, we’ll be explaining contingent fee agreements.
“A personal injury attorney has decided to take my negligence case, but I need to sign a Contingent Fee Agreement. What is that?”
The contingent fee agreement (CFA) is a document that you and your attorney review and sign together. The document discusses a number of important things that you need to agree to and be aware of as your case progresses. The critical part of a contingent fee contract is the fee. “Contingent” fee means the fee is contingent on something. In the case of an attorney contingent fee, this means the fee is contingent on the attorney winning or settling your case. There is no up front fee. Rather, the attorney takes a fee out of the monetary recovery the attorney obtains for you. If there is no monetary recovery or the attorney loses the case, there is no fee.
“Are the costs of the case included in the lawyer’s fees?”
Another important part of the contingent fee agreement is payment of the costs associated with the legal representation. “Costs” are not included with the attorney’s contingent fee. Typically, the contingent fee agreement says the attorney will advance all costs associated with your legal matter and at the end of the case the costs are deducted separately from your monetary recovery. So, like the contingent fee, if there is no recovery of money for you, you don’t repay the costs. Therefore, if the contingent fee agreement states that the fees and costs are “contingent” there is no financial risk to you in pursuing the case. If the case is unsuccessful, the attorney does not get paid and does not get reimbursed for the costs of the case.
If you suspect that you are a victim of negligence, it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as you can. As we previously discussed, case investigations take time, and there is a deadline (called a Statute of Limitations) for filing your claim. It’s good that you are researching attorneys and are trying to understand the process. If you wish to discuss your case with our experienced team of personal injury attorneys, call Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. at 570-346-2600 or 570-822-1400.