What Is A 'Contingent Fee' Or 'Contingency Fee Agreement'?

In some types of cases, like personal injury cases, the lawyer will not charge you unless you are “awarded” money through a settlement or at trial. In these “contingency” cases, you and your lawyer must sign a written agreement at the very beginning of the case stating how much money (called “recovery”) will go to the lawyer, and how that amount will be calculated. The lawyer may ask for thirty percent of the amount you are awarded, calculated after the lawyer deducts costs. Usually, you will have to pay the costs as they come up. But your lawyer may agree to pay the costs himself and deduct that amount from the money you are awarded. You may still have to pay costs even if you lose your case.