Skip to Content
You Don't Pay Us Unless We Win 888-398-2277

Decoding Contingency Fees: What Do They Mean for You?


Contingency fees are a standard payment arrangement in the legal industry, particularly in personal injury cases. When attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, they only get paid if they successfully recover compensation for their clients. Thus, clients do not have to pay upfront fees or retainer costs. Instead, the attorney's fee is contingent upon the case's outcome – if the case is successful, the attorney receives a percentage of the compensation awarded to the client; if the case is unsuccessful, the attorney does not receive any payment for their services.

Understanding contingency fees is crucial for potential clients as it directly impacts the costs associated with their case. By knowing that their attorney will only be compensated if they win the case, clients can better budget for legal representation. This transparency allows clients to make informed decisions about whether to pursue legal action and which attorney to choose to represent them. Additionally, understanding contingency fees helps clients manage their expectations regarding the financial aspects of their case, avoiding surprises.

Individuals considering hiring an attorney on a contingency fee basis should discuss this payment arrangement thoroughly with the lawyer. Clients can feel more confident in their legal representation by clearly understanding how contingency fees work and what to expect. This discussion also enables clients to ask any questions about the fee structure and to ensure they are comfortable with the terms of the agreement before moving forward with their case.

At Bertram & Graf, L.L.C., we offer legal services on a contingency fee basis. Potential clients in Kansas City can contact us at (888) 398-2277 to learn more about our fee structure and discuss their case with us.

What Are Contingency Fees?

When an attorney offers their services on a contingency fee basis, they only receive payment if they win the case and secure compensation for the client. This setup is especially beneficial for individuals who may not have the financial means to afford legal representation up front.

How Contingency Fees Differ From Other Fee Arrangements

The primary distinction between contingency fees and other fee arrangements, such as fixed hourly fees, is when the attorney gets paid. With contingency fees, the attorney's compensation is directly tied to the case's outcome. After winning the case, they receive a predetermined percentage of the compensation awarded to the client. However, if the case is unsuccessful and no compensation is recovered, the attorney does not obtain payment for their services.

In contrast, fixed hourly fees require clients to pay their attorney for every hour of work, regardless of the case's outcome.

Misconceptions About Contingency Fees

A common misconception about contingency fees is that clients believe their cases will be handled entirely free of charge.

While clients do not pay attorney fees upfront, they must still cover certain expenses, such as:

  • Court costs
  • Expert witness fees
  • Medical exams or test

The client must pay these costs regardless of the case outcome.

How Do Contingency Fees Work

The foundation of any contingency fee arrangement is a written agreement between the attorney and the client. This agreement outlines the terms and conditions of the representation, including the fee structure. Both parties must thoroughly review and understand the agreement before signing.

The agreement should specify the percentage of the contingency fee that the attorney will receive upon successfully resolving the case. Additionally, it should outline other relevant terms, such as how other expenses will be handled and whether they will be deducted from the settlement or award before the attorney's percentage is calculated.

The percentage of the contingency fee is typically based on several factors, including the following:

  • Complexity of the case
  • Potential compensation amount
  • Strength of the case

Attorneys cannot set or collect unreasonable fees or charge excessive amounts for expenses.

Getting Clarity from a Lawyer

It is paramount to have a comprehensive understanding of what it means when a lawyer offers services on a contingency fee basis. This payment arrangement can significantly impact the financial aspects of your case, and it's crucial to be clear on the terms and conditions outlined in the fee agreement.

As you navigate legal matters, you must seek counsel tailored to your situation. Every case is unique, and what works for one individual may not be suitable for another. By discussing your case with an attorney, you can receive personalized advice and representation that addresses your concerns.

At Bertram & Graf, L.L.C., we understand the importance of providing reliable legal guidance and support to individuals in Kansas City and beyond. If you have questions about contingency fees or other legal matter, please get in touch with us at (888) 398-2277.