Most personal injury lawyers in Medicine Hat charge their clients a contingency fee. Some adults view that arrangement as an attempt to profit from others misfortunes. Actually, that reasonable fee represents an effort to offer legal advice to someone that has been hit with financial losses.
Someone that has used a different type of lawyer in the past might not be familiar with the arrangement that is associated with contingency fees. That same person needs to gain a better understanding of what such a fee is, and what it is not.
A contingency fee bears no resemblance to these fees:
A retainer fee: This is an upfront payment made to an attorney. The recipient of a retainer fee has reason to expect the paid lawyer to become available on a steady basis. Lawyers that charge a contingency fee do not encourage their clients to have such expectations.
An hourly fee: This entails charging for services on an hourly basis. The client gets billed on a regular basis. A large bill might reflect the lawyer’s need to handle a complex case, or to seek-out a professional with special skills. In a contingency arrangement, a client’s fee does not reflect the amount of effort extended by a hired lawyer.
A lawyer charging a contingency fee might want to get reimbursed for disbursements.
A disbursement is an out-of-pocket expense that covers the cost of some service performed by a given attorney. That service might consist of making long distance phone calls, obtaining copies of specific reports, or copying certain documents. Some lawyers add a disbursement fee to any other fees.
What or who determines the size of a contingency fee?
Each personal injury lawyer sets the rate for his or her own fees. The client normally pays some percent of what he or she has been awarded by the court, or by an insurance company. The size of that percent can vary from one personal injury lawyer to the next.
Personal injury lawyers do not make arbitrary changes to the percent of the client’s award that gets taken, following a decision in a given case. That percent could equal about 1/3 of the award, if the client’s attorney did not have to argue the case in court. It would be larger, if the litigation went on for longer, forcing the attorney to represent the client in a courtroom.
At no point would a client be asked to pay upfront, before a case had settled. Similarly, no client would get billed for the lawyer’s time. That system allows a client with a limited income to approach a highly skilled member of the legal profession. Furthermore, the same client could also consider hiring a highly experienced attorney.