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What Is Contingency?

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What Does Contingency Fee Basis Mean?
If you hire a California attorney on a contingency basis, you agree to pay for his or her services only if he or she wins your case. This payment structure protects the typical claimant who lacks the financial resources to pay legal expenses out of pocket. It enables any plaintiff, regardless of their financial status or economic standing, to have competent legal counsel without going into debt. Attorneys specializing in personal injury, medical malpractice, sexual harassment, and employment law frequently use this payment method. 

In general, legal firms that work on a contingency fee basis do not charge any fees up ahead. To employ a lawyer, you will not be required to pay a retainer fee. In addition, the lawyer will cover all of your case's fees, so you won't have to worry about money. An investigation, filing fees, and the expense of engaging an expert will all be covered by your lawyer. If and when your lawsuit is won, the lawyer will be compensated for these expenses. 

How Does a Contingency Fee System Work?
You will only pay a contingency fee lawyer at the end of your case and only if the lawyer successfully obtains a financial recovery on your behalf. You will not have to pay out of pocket when you do pay. Rather than charging you for legal services, your lawyer will charge you a portion of the settlement or judgment award as a service fee. The percentage charged varies depending on the law firm and the case. 

The most typical contingency fee rate is 33.33 percent, equating to roughly one-third of the plaintiff's total recovery. If the lawyer is taking a greater financial risk by accepting your case, the percentage may be higher. Most law firms charge extra if your case must go to trial because a trial involves more effort than an insurance settlement. Before the commencement of your case, you and your lawyer will agree on a percentage. Every legal company is unique. Discuss all of the fees and litigation costs that may be associated with your case with your lawyer ahead of time. 

What Are the Benefits of Contingency Fees?
The most apparent advantage of hiring a lawyer who works on a contingency fee basis is that you can always pay the legal expenses. However, having highly driven counsel is a distinct benefit. Your lawyer will not be paid until you win your case. The amount of money your lawyer collects on your behalf will determine how much money he or she earns. This is a tremendous motivation for an attorney to seek the highest amount of compensation for you and your damages. 

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What Are Some Of The Costs The Lawyer Pays On My Behalf?

In some cases, regardless if you win or lose your case, you probably will have to pay court filing fees, the costs related to deposing witnesses, and similar charges.

Some of the expenses typically fronted by lawyers that work on contingency may include:

  • Investigation of the accident scene by experts

  • Re-creation of the accident scene & trial exhibits

  • Obtaining medical records

  • Obtaining police reports

  • Fees for hiring expert witnesses

  • Deposition costs

  • Filing a lawsuit and other filing fees

  • Postage fees

  • Discovery phase costs of gathering all evidence available

  • Tracking down witnesses and parties in the case and issuing a subpoena

  • Ongoing phone calls, visits and dialogue with all parties in case


Most Cases Are Not Contingency Fee Friendly


Let's assume you cannot pay your rent. Your landlord sues and gives you a 30-day notice to vacate the apartment. One night, you watch a commercial from an attorney who says he won't charge any fees unless he wins. 


You call the attorney, and he immediately rejects your case, and you are left to wonder, "why won't he accept my case on contingency?" The reason he's not interested in taking your case it's because there no way he can be compensated for his legal services. 


Similarly, a divorce attorney, a business litigation attorney, and most other attorneys will not accept a contingency fee arrangement. A lawyer will accept contingency fee cases where the lawyer is likely to be paid well. This is the case of personal injury claims (where there are actual bodily injuries) or employee right's cases because the lawyer can go after the insurance company.  


Lawyers don't work for free and can’t stay in business if they accept a bunch of weak cases.


Even some personal injury cases can't be accepted on a contingency basis. For example, let's assume you accept a high-paying job out of state as a drilling engineer at a prestigious oil company. You immediately make arrangements to move closer to your job and pay for a moving truck, then proceed to  terminate your current lease, and start packing. 


You then hire some guy outside a home improvement store to help you move. Unfortunately, in the process, he accidentally drops a television and breaks your foot. You go to the emergency room, and the doctor tells you that he needs to perform surgery because you require titanium screws. You end up spending three days in the hospital, and you cannot perform any strenuous physical activities for the next six months.  


As a result, you can no longer take that succulent job out of state; you lost your deposit on the moving truck AND your deposit at the new apartment out of state. You're also stuck with a $15K bill for the ambulance and other medical-related expenses. Your life is ruined, and you are thirsty for blood, you want revenge. 


You consult with half a dozen law firms, and each swiftly rejects your case. Why? Well, who are they going to sue? The home improvement store? The guy you hired on the street? Does he have liability insurance? Does he have any assets? Maybe a few million in the bank? a Ferrari perhaps he can sell, so he pays for your losses? 

You get the point!

Why It's Important To Make Sure Lawyers Are Vetted?


The California State Bar investigates in average 16,000 complaints of professional misconduct by attorneys every year.


We conduct due diligence by researching and recommending  the best local attorney in your area specialized in the type of law related to your legal issue. We verify each attorney is in good standing with the California State Bar and is not under investigation for committing crimes. 

Our objective is that you receive the best comprehensive, high-quality legal representation while holding California attorneys to the highest standards of professional conduct.

Where Can You Find a Lawyer Who Works on a Contingency Fee Basis?
If you need a California lawyer who works on contingency, you can request a lawyer referral 24 hours a day. All injury claims and employee rights cases are accepted on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no upfront costs.


You don't need any money to engage our pre-screened lawyers, and you won't have to pay our costs until they win your case. There are no hidden expenses or fees with us. Begin by scheduling a completely free initial appointment with one of our attorneys. 

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Your information is 100% confidential, we don't sell nor share your contact details with anyone outside our legal team. Upon submitting your case details, a licensed California lawyer will assess your case. You will get an answer within 5 minutes. We are open 24 hours a day. 

most cases aren't contingency friendly
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