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What Does It Mean to Work with an Iowa Lawyer on a Contingency Fee Basis?

Posted By Farl Greene - 10.23.20

After you have been seriously injured or a loved one has been killed, you probably realize that you need an attorney to help with your personal injury case. What you may not realize is that you can hire a personal injury lawyer for your case without paying upfront.

If you have had to hire an attorney before for a divorce or a DUI, you probably had to pay out of pocket by the hour for their services. However, the majority of plaintiff personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyers work on a contingency fee basis.

What Does “Contingency” Mean?

The term “contingency” means that you will not be charged any money upfront to hire an attorney for your case. You will also not be charged any attorney fees during the lawsuit process. The attorney you hire will only be paid if you get a settlement or win at trial.

You and your attorney will discuss what contingency fee arrangement works best for your claim and you will sign a fee agreement. This will be part of the paperwork you sign when you hire your attorney. The fee is taken out of the amount you are awarded from a settlement or a verdict and is a percentage of what you recover.

What is the Contingency Fee-Based On?

The fee is based upon on a number of factors, including:

  • The number of hours worked on your case – some personal injury claims, like nursing home abuse or medical malpractice cases, are more complex and more likely to go to trial. Because of this, the contingency fee may be a higher percentage of what you are awarded because it takes much more time and effort to bring a case to trial.
  • The likelihood of success in your case.
  • The amount of damages you could win – which could include punitive damages and pain and suffering.

Contingency fees vary depending on the type of personal injury case. Generally, an attorney will get 33.3% in a personal injury case involving a motor vehicle collision. However, in medical malpractice and nursing home cases, the contingent fee is generally 40%.

How Are Contingent Fees Paid?

Planning for the attorney fee to come out of your verdict or settlement means that you can hire experienced counsel without having to pay anything out of your own pocket. You can get the legal help you need without having to pay a bunch of money upfront.

It also means that an attorney paid on contingency will be driven to work hard on your claim because if you don’t get paid, they don’t get paid.

Other Costs to an Iowa Personal Injury Case

Keep in mind that there are other costs to a case as well, including:

  • Court fees
  • Expert witness fees
  • Medical records fees
  • Postage costs

These costs are not considered part of your attorney’s fee and will need to be paid in addition to the contingent fee.

When you settle your case or win a verdict, a check will be mailed to your attorney’s office. Your attorney will keep this money in a trust until all medical liens have been paid. Your attorney will also take out their fee and costs before sending the balance of the compensation to you.

A breakdown of costs should be provided to you to sign. Read over it carefully and ask your attorney any questions you have.

RSH Legal attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, and our initial consultation is free. To speak with one of our attorneys, call us today at 1-800-433-0283.

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