What Is A Contingency Fee Agreement And How Does It Work?

Chris Davis
Award-winning personal injury attorney and founder of Davis Law Group, P.S. in Seattle, Washington.

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When people contact our team of personal injury attorneys about a potential case, one of their biggest concerns is about how much it might cost to hire a lawyer. It seems that many people are conditioned to hearing about the stereotypical high-priced hourly attorneys who charge their clients thousands of dollars up-front in "retainer fees." 

The personal injury attorneys at Davis Law Group, P.S. work on a contingency fee - also known as a contingent fee - basis. Put simply, this type of arrangement means that all legal fees associated with hiring us are contingent on our ability to successfully resolve your case and recover compensation on your behalf. It also means that the client would not owe any attorney fees if for any reason we were unable to successfully resolve their case. (Fortunately, our award-winning legal team has enjoyed a great deal of success in resolving our clients cases for more than 25 years.)

How The Contingency Fee Benefits Clients

From a client's perspective, the main benefit of a contingency fee agreement is the fact that they do not owe anything up front in order to be able to hire an attorney. If all personal injury attorneys required their clients to pay thousands of dollars in retainer fees up-front before agreeing to accept the case, then only wealthy people would be able to afford hiring a personal injury attorney. That wouldn't be right, and it would leave millions of Americans without quality legal representation annually. 

RELATED: Why Would A Personal Injury Attorney Require A Retainer Fee?

There are also several other ways that a contingency fee agreement is beneficial to clients. First, a contingency fee agreement incentivizes an attorney to achieve the best possible result for the client. If the attorney cuts corners or settles the case for less than it ultimately may be worth, then the attorney will also receive a reduced fee for his or her services. Leaving money on the table is bad for both the attorney and the client, which motivates the attorney to only settle the case when the insurance company has made a fair offer.

How The Contingency Fee Benefits Attorneys

The most significant way that a contingency fee agreement is beneficial to an attorney is in that the attorney is rewarded for recovering the highest possible level of compensation on the client's behalf. As mentioned previously, accepting an unfair settlement offer from the insurance company means the attorney would also be accepting a lower fee. A qualified personal injury attorney will fight to get the best possible result so that both the client and the attorney receive more money in the end.

Accepting cases on a contingency fee basis does not come without risk for the attorney, however. While a contingency fee arrangement is risk-free for the client, an attorney takes on a great deal of financial risk each time he or she agrees to accept a new case. For example, an attorney can easily incur thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars related to gathering medical records and documents, hiring and consulting expert witnesses, and other related legal costs early on in a new case. And since the agreement dictates that the client does not owe anything if the attorney fails to resolve the case, the attorney is risking all of the early costs under the assumption that he or she will be able to resolve the case successfully. 

Contact Us To Learn More

In addition to offering a contingency fee agreement to accident victims, we also offer a complimentary case review to anyone who wishes to learn more about their legal rights and the merits of their potential case. If we believe we can add value to your case and help you successfully recover the compensation you are entitled to under the law, we will schedule you for a free legal consultation with our attorneys. 

Call (206) 727-4000 or use the confidential contact form on this page to get started with the case review process.