After an accident, you may grapple with more than just physical injuries. The mounting bills and emotional toll of the incident can also complicate the path to recovery.
One of the most significant hurdles for victims seeking legal recourse is the cost of hiring a Nashville personal injury lawyer. This is where understanding the concept of a contingency fee is important. A common feature in personal injury cases, the contingency fee offers a path to justice that does not add to your financial strain after an accident.
Understanding Contingency Fees in Tennessee
For traditional legal services, lawyers are typically paid an hourly or flat fee upfront. Personal injury attorneys operate differently on a contingency fee basis.
A contingency fee is essentially a performance-based payment system. Under this system, if your lawyer wins your case, they take a predetermined percentage of your settlement or court award as their fee. If you do not win your case, your lawyer does not receive their fee for the services they provided.
This model benefits personal injury victims who may not have the funds to pay a lawyer’s hourly fee or retainer.
In the United States, the typical contingency fee is between 25 and 40 percent of the total settlement or court award. The Tennessee Bar Association reports an average contingency fee of 33.33 percent. The percentage may vary depending on factors such as the complexity of your case and the stage at which your case resolves.
What Are the Benefits of a Contingency Fee Arrangement?
The contingency fee has many benefits for personal injury clients. Some of these benefits include:
- Financial Accessibility: The main advantage of a contingency fee is that it opens the doors to litigation for people from all economic backgrounds. Because there are no upfront costs, victims can seek representation without worrying about finding the funds to pay for legal services. This is important because many victims already struggle with financial hardships from their injuries.
- Risk Management: The contingency fee arrangement is “no win, no fee.” Clients are often comforted by the idea that they will not have to pay legal fees if they do not settle or win their case at trial. The contingency fee reduces the financial risk of litigation.
- Aligned Interests: The contingency fee system aligns the interests of a client and their lawyer. The fee is contingent on the case’s success, so your lawyer will be incentivized to work strategically to achieve the best outcome.
- A Focus on Meritorious Claims: The contingency fee helps the legal system screen personal injury claims. Attorneys are likely to only take on cases they believe have merit and a reasonable chance of success. This discourages frivolous lawsuits.
These benefits attract clients and personal injury lawyers to the contingency fee model. Its use in the American legal system has improved accessibility and risk management and aligned the interests of lawyers and clients.
Are There Any Case Expenses I Might Have To Pay?
The benefits of contingency fee agreements are substantial. Some lawyers will front costs associated with litigation. However, clients should know that standard contingency fee agreements do not cover some costs. For example, the contingency fee typically does not cover court costs and other out-of-pocket litigation expenses.
These expenses may include:
- Court filing fees
- Costs for mailing or copying
- Fees for police reports
- Charges for medical records
- Fees for expert witness fees
- Deposition costs
- Costs associated with preparing trial exhibits
Some lawyers may agree to cover these costs and deduct them from the final award. Others may require clients to pay for them separately.
Your lawyer should discuss the specifics of the contingency fee arrangement with you during a free initial consultation. You should also expect to sign a written fee agreement. This will specify all the terms governing the lawyer-client relationship.
The American Bar Association’s ethics rules require a contingency fee agreement to be signed in writing by all clients. The Tennessee Bar Association also has rules on contingency fees for Tennessee lawyers.
Learn More About Contingency Fees During a Free Consultation With a Personal Injury Lawyer in Nashville, TN
Contingency fees are common in personal injury law. They offer a way for victims to pursue litigation without being constrained by their financial resources. This arrangement also fosters a stronger relationship and teamwork between the lawyer and the client. Under a contingency fee, each side has something to gain by maximizing the value of your claim.
Personal injury clients should be sure they understand the nuances of contingency fees, including all potential costs. A Nashville personal injury lawyer will discuss the specifics during an initial consultation.
At Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers we’re committed to representing personal injury victims on a contingency fee basis. We represent victims of car accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents using this arrangement. Learn more by scheduling a free consultation today at (615) 685-8546.