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In The Know

How do Contingency Fees Work?

Most plaintiff attorneys are paid by what’s called a ‘contingency fee.’ A contingency fee is any fee that a lawyer receives if a case is won or settled. Most attorney contingency fees range from 30% to 40% depending on the type of case, the complexity of the case, or whether the case proceeds to trial.

It’s important to note that expenses are usually not included as part of a contingency fee. Typical expenses consist of court filing fees, copies of transcripts, expert fees, police reports, postage and other expenses related to a client’s case. For example, if an attorney and client enter into a 30% contingency fee agreement and the client’s case is settled for $100,000 and there were $2,000 worth of expenses, the attorney would get their 30% “off the top” plus the reimbursement of $2,000 for expenses which would net the client $68,000 and the attorney $32,000. That may seem like a lot to some people, however, if a case loses or doesn’t settle, the attorney is usually responsible for any expenses incurred. A contingency fee allows people to hire attorneys to represent them without any up front out of pocket expenses and low economic downside if the case loses.

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