Contingent Fee Agreements
A contingent fee is an arrangement which permits the injured worker to obtain legal representation without having to pay the attorney a retainer, and without having to advance court costs. The attorney advances the court costs, and the attorney’s fee is deferred until you begin to receive monetary benefits. When the case is concluded, court costs and the remainder of the attorney’s fee are taken out of the settlement money you receive. This makes it possible for a person with little or no means to hire an attorney to secure representation for a valid claim which needs to be pursued. This kind of agreement also has other advantages.
Contingency fees also provide a powerful motivation to the attorney to work diligently on the client’s case. The attorney doesn’t receive attorney fees if the case is not successfully pursued. When attorneys charge by the hour, they receive payment even if the case does not conclude with a successful outcome. That’s good for the attorney; not good for the client. Finally, because the attorney assumes the risk of representation in a contingent fee case, the number of frivolous or borderline cases are reduced. No attorney wants to take a case if he/she is not going to be reimbursed for the time put into the project.
Still, it is your decision whether you wish to retain legal counsel on a contingency fee, or simply pay the attorney by the hour for time devoted to your case. You should discuss this issue with the attorney you consult at the free initial consultation. If an attorney will not provide a free initial consultation, consider finding someone who will.