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What Is a ‘Contingency Fee’ Agreement?

Legal attorneys have many ways of getting compensation for their services – hourly, flat fee, or contingency fee.

So, what exactly is a contingency fee? Does it have specific advantages? What types of cases cannot be taken on a contingency basis by a Florida truck accident attorney? Read on as we explore these questions in detail.

What Is a Contingency Fee Agreement?

A contingency fee is a type of payment that plaintiffs (the person filing a lawsuit) gives an attorney as compensation for legal representation. The plaintiff pays their lawyer an agreed-upon percentage of the monetary compensation they get after settling the case. In other words, payments to your attorney are “contingent” upon the result of the case.

The payment occurs if there is a favorable result. Contingent fee arrangements commonly occur in personal injury cases, and charges range between 30% and 40% of what you get after the settlement.

The exact fee your attorney receives depends on several factors, including the following:

  • Type of attorney
  • Nature of your case, and
  • Location.

For example, a riskier or more complex case could attract a higher contingency rate than a low-risk lawsuit. If lawyers deem your case high risk, they could decide to raise the charging rate or avoid it altogether.

Before making any agreements with your lawyer, consider the following:

  • Understand how lawyers calculate contingency fees
  • Contingency fees are negotiable. If you feel the charge is too high, ask if they can consider a lower amount.
  • Ask the lawyer if they take contingency fees before or after deducting expenses.

Case Costs Related to Contingency Fee Agreement

Case costs involve the amount of money spent to pursue your case and get recovery. Depending on your contingency fee agreement, you can settle case costs in the final case stage after getting compensation. Two types of case costs are:

Prelitigation Costs – expenses charged in investigations and evidence-gathering processes, including police and investigation reports, postage, fees for bills and medical copies, faxes, etc.

Trial Costs – additional charges in a civil lawsuit, such as court filing fees and deposition transcripts. Some cases may require additional support from an expert or investigator to help prove certain elements.

Pros and Cons of a Contingency Fee Agreement


In a contingent fee agreement, your interest and attorney’s are met. For one, your attorney is bound to work their best because their compensation depends on it. The contingency fee is suitable if you’re a person of limited means and can hardly afford to hire an attorney on retainer.

Conversely, an attorney working on an hourly payment (like in other litigations) can be less bothered. Although they may have your best interest, they may also carry personal interests–utilize more hours and maximize pay.

Secondly, contingency fee helps those incapable of paying attorney fees and litigation costs. No upfront fee is necessary until your case wins.

Lastly, your attorney is less likely to overbill your case because they determine contingency fees upfront and record them on paper.


While contingency fee carries several pros, not all law firms accept them. Moreover, they may only work in specific cases.

A lawsuit must be successful, or the plaintiff must get a favorable settlement for a contingency fee to occur.


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