Understandably, most people are wary of hiring an attorney because of the expense involved. Cases involving injury and wrongful death claims are usually handled by experienced lawyers on a contingency basis.
With a contingent fee agreement, the lawyer agrees to defer his or her fee until the case successfully resolves. The fee is based on a percentage of the recovery obtained by the lawyer. If there is no recovery, then no attorney fee is owed. Most contingency fees can range anywhere from 25% to 50% of the recovery, depending on the type and complexity of the case.
A wrongful death case can take years to resolve and the lawyer will spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on the case before he or she gets paid. Usually, the riskier and more complex the case, the higher the contingency fee percentage will be.
If a lawyer accepts a wrongful death case that is very complex and/or has a high risk of failure, then that lawyer will usually want to be paid a premium for accepting the risk, since he or she may not get paid after performing hundreds of hours of work on the case.
Contingency fees allow families with limited financial resources to hire the best legal representation possible. This is important because the insurance companies usually retain some of the most expensive and experienced defense attorneys to help deny, delay and defend the wrongful death claim.