Contingent Fee Basis

contingent basis personal injury cases

We’re dedicated to helping injury victims get the representation they need. Based in Virginia Beach, Ruloff, Swain, Haddad, Morecock, Talbert & Woodward, P.C. has handled personal injury claims throughout the Tidewater region and beyond for over 30 years. We’ve helped people with all types of personal injury claims. We know how difficult an injury can be and we’ll fight to protect you. That’s who we are.

It’s our goal to make sure that our clients get what they need: quality representation and compensation for their injuries. Accident victims turn to us when they need knowledgeable and compassionate lawyers who will work with them from start to finish. In most personal injury claims, we’ll work on a contingency basis. We don’t get paid unless and until you recover for your injuries.

Contact us today for a free consultation. It’s confidential and comes with no strings attached.

What You Need to Know About Contingency Fees

Simply put, a contingency fee means that a lawyer works in return for a percentage of a settlement, verdict, or a jury award: not for an hourly charge. When a lawyer works for a contingency fee, it means the lawyer gets paid only if their client recovers damages. There is no upfront charge for the lawyer’s services. In fact, you never make an out-of-pocket payment. The contingency fee simply comes out of the compensation the attorney recovers on your behalf.

Contingency fees are deducted from the settlement or award that is recovered by a lawyer on the client’s behalf. If a lawyer settles an injury claim with an insurance company, the contingency fee is deducted from the settlement. If the claim goes to a trial, the lawyer will represent the victim in court. If the verdict or jury award is in the victim’s favor, the contingency fee will be deducted from that when the judgment is paid.

It’s important to understand that with contingency fees, no recovery of damages means no legal fees. The lawyer only gets paid when you recover compensation.

Why Use Contingency Fees?

Contingency fees are common in personal injury claims. Quality legal representation can be expensive. Contingency fees are a way for people who may not be able to afford a lawyer’s hourly rate to pursue a claim. Contingency fees allow injury victims to hire a lawyer without having to worry about legal bills on top of the medical bills and other injury expenses that may be piling up.

Limited client resources shouldn’t produce limited results. Contingency fees work for both clients and lawyers. That’s because the lawyer’s interests are aligned with the client’s. An attorney will accept only cases that have a strong chance of success. The more money the lawyer recovers for the client, the more the lawyer gets paid. That gives the lawyer a big incentive to maximize the client’s recovery.

In other fee agreements, a lawyer is hired to perform work at a set hourly rate. The client often has to pay an amount of money up front called a “retainer.” If the retainer runs out, or the client is not able to pay their legal bill, the lawyer may stop representing them. Contingency fees help ensure that if a lawyer takes a claim, that lawyer will work on that claim until it’s finished.

Contingency fees allow clients to have their claims evaluated by a lawyer at no cost. A legal claim evaluation can be expensive, and many clients don’t have the resources. For a lawyer, it takes time, training, and experience to understand the strengths and weaknesses of a claim. The contingency fee model allows clients to get a lawyer’s consultation without spending money out of their pocket.

Contingency Fee Agreements

If you’re working with a lawyer on a contingency fee basis, you may have to sign a contingency fee agreement. The contingency fee agreement will discuss the time and work a lawyer will put into the claim. It will also let you know if there are other costs that may arise with your claim.

The agreement will outline what costs are covered and what costs are not. The agreement will depend on the facts of your case and your situation. In most situations, clients will have no out-of-pocket costs.

Many costs may be discussed in a fee agreement including:

  • Expert analysis. If your claim requires an expert to study the record, there may be related costs.
  • Court fees. If a claim goes to trial, there may court fees incurred.
  • Costs for certified records. Hospitals, insurers, and authorities may charge fees for official copies of records. These records can be vital to a claim.

Often, these costs can be deducted from a settlement or verdict, leaving clients with no out-of-pocket expenses. Our lawyers will work to craft a contingency fee agreement that works for you.

How Much Is a Contingency Fee?

The amount of a contingency fee depends on a few factors:

  • Time and effort. The amount of time and effort a lawyer puts into a case can affect the contingency fee. There’s no crystal ball that can tell a lawyer how difficult a case can be. However, experienced lawyers may be able to estimate how much time and effort a case may require.
  • Some claims have a strong set of documents and evidence to support them. Others do not. In cases where outcomes are uncertain, the lawyer is risking their time, effort, and even their own resources to move a claim forward. Risk can impact the contingency fee amount.
  • Settlement and trial. Most personal injury claims are settled before a trial. If a settlement is takes place, it may result in a quicker and more cost-effective finish to the claim. If a claim goes to trial, there may be a significant amount of preparation and research that lawyers will have to do. Again, there is no crystal ball to know whether a claim will go all the way to a trial, but experienced lawyers may be able to estimate.

We Work for You

If you’ve been injured, contact us for a free consultation. We can discuss your claim and any questions you may have about contingency fees.

We have represented injury victims throughout the Virginia Beach area and beyond. We understand the challenges of personal injury claims and we fight for our clients and their families. In many claims we’ll work on a contingency basis so that you can get quality representation without out-of-pocket expenses.

If you have been injured in an accident, get the help you need. We’ll work for you to get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.