Most personal injury cases in New Jersey that get handled by a lawyer involve a contingency fee arrangement between the injured person and their attorney. If you got injured in an accident that was not your fault, a New Jersey personal injury attorney can take care of your claim and go after compensation from the at-fault party. Let’s explore how contingency fees work in New Jersey personal injury cases.
What Contingency Fee Means
An attorney fee arrangement is contingent if something has to happen before the lawyer gets paid. In a personal injury case that uses a contingency fee arrangement, the lawyer only gets paid if you win. If you do not win, you do not owe any attorney fees.
Why the Law Created Contingency Fees
Before our legal system developed the concept of contingency fees, only wealthy people could afford to use the courts. If someone was extremely careless and you got hurt as a consequence, there was nothing you could do about it unless you could pay a lawyer to take that person to court.
It is enough of a hardship to get injured through someone else’s negligence. You should not also have the financial hardship of having to scrape together money to pay a legal fee deposit or give up on your rights to compensation. Contingency fees address these issues and make our legal system much more accessible than it used to be.
Not all legal cases use contingency fee arrangements. In fact, the law does not allow them to be used in many situations other than personal injury claims. For example, if you get a divorce, your attorney will charge you by the hour for the time that they worked on your case. Also, you will likely have to pay money upfront to your divorce lawyer as a deposit toward your legal fees. Contingency fee cases do not involve upfront legal fees or charge fees based on the hours the attorney worked on your case.
How Contingency Fees Work
You and your New Jersey personal injury attorney will sign a contingency fee agreement at the beginning of the case. This paper will stipulate the percentage of the settlement or court award the lawyer will get paid at the end of your claim. You will not have to pay any attorney fees before or during the case. At the end of the matter, the lawyer gets paid out of the proceeds from the case.
Your contingency fee agreement on your New Jersey personal injury case will contain all the essential terms so that you will not have any surprises. Usually, the lawyer gets a lower percentage if they can settle your case before having to file a lawsuit. That is only fair, since taking a case to trial involves much more work than getting a settlement early in the case. You will want to talk with your New Jersey personal injury attorney about the contingency fee arrangement that will get used in your case. We will be happy to answer any questions you have. Contact our office today for a free consultation.