Often personal injury lawyers advertise “No fees unless you win,” but what does that really mean?
Most personal injury lawyers will speak, at no cost, with the injured person to answer their question about whether they have a legal claim. If the lawyer believes that there is a case, and the client agrees to go forward, they will sign an agreement called a retainer. Generally, retainers state that the lawyer will represent the client for a particular case and that the client will pay for the legal services.
However, many personal injury lawyers agree to have their legal fee paid, as a percentage of the total recovery, only if they win money for the client. The legal fee is earned only after that money is collected. No legal fee is owed if money is not collected.
This arrangement is called a contingent fee, since the payment of legal fees depends on money successfully being recovered.
The benefit of a contingent fee agreement to the client is that he or she doesn’t have to pay any money for legal fees unless they win their claim.
The system is set up to be low risk for injured parties, while the attorney invests significant resources accomplishing such vital tasks as:
- Investigating the facts and interviewing witnesses;
- Reviewing medical records;
- Researching the law, preparing legal documents and appearing in court;
- Negotiating with insurance companies;
- Preparing the client for appearances; and
- Trying the case, when necessary.
Contingent legal fees in New York State level the playing field between ordinary people and businesses with deep pockets and insurance to pay for their lawyers. It permits people injured by the carelessness of others to fight back.
Have you ever ‘given up’ because you thought you couldn’t afford legal representation?
Katter Law Firm
Alt Phone: 212-809-4293