Facts Related To Contingency Fees

The attorney’s fee gets deducted from the final settlement, or from the award that has been granted by the court. The fee’s size reflects the degree of risk that has been accepted by the client’s attorney.

What is the nature of that risk? The attorney’s risk reflects the uncertain nature of the result. If the client-lawyer team were unable to win their case, one half of that team (the lawyer) would not receive any remuneration.

The attorney receives some percentage of the funds that his or her client has won.

That percentage is usually in the range of 33% to 40%, although it could be more or less than either of those percentages. Each client has the right to negotiate the lawyer’s percentage.

Some lawyers have a sliding scale, where the percentage increases, if the lawyer’s services are needed during the litigation process.

The costs, which have been paid by the personal injury lawyer, are included in the fee.

What required actions give rise to the added costs?

—Obtaining a copy of the client’s medical report
—Obtaining a copy of the police report
—The fee charged by an expert witness
—Cost for sending materials in the mail
—Court’s filing fee:
—Transcription of proceedings during the litigation process: That would not be required if the opposing parties had agreed to a settlement

A potential client asks during the consultation about the lawyer’s method for payment of the costs

Some personal injury lawyers in Medicine Hat take their cut of the client’s money and then pay the costs by using some of the remaining funds. Some lawyers pay the costs first, and then take their cut from the remaining funds. That latter method provides the client with a larger share of his or her settlement money, or court-ordered judgment.

Suppose the client loses, and does not receive any money; then who pays the costs?

Every lawyer has a different way for handling that particular situation. The potential client should ask that specific question during the consultation. No potential client should hesitate to ask questions about arrangements that relate to the fee.

After payment of the costs, the attorney sends a check to the waiting client. That check should bear the name that matches with the name on the client’s bank account. If the name on the check and the name on the bank account do not match, the bank might refuse to cash the client’s check.

Smart clients try to avoid that situation by making sure that their lawyer knows exactly what name to put on the mailed check. That precautionary move becomes especially important if the lawyer-client relationship had begun as a friendship, and the attorney might use a nickname, when addressing the client.