Understanding Contingency Fees in Personal Injury Cases


Attorney fees are often expensive, and many average working folks cannot afford the costs. Therefore, when suffering an injury because of another’s negligence or intentional act, it is understandable that many people do not seek legal action. However, what some people do not realize is most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning you pay no attorney fees up front. Thus, it is necessary to discuss the contingency structure, so when you need legal help, you know you can get it.

Contingency Fee Agreement

A contingency fee agreement is a legal contract stipulating the terms and conditions of your attorney and your obligations throughout the legal process. Essentially, this contract will lie out the terms of the fee structure and under what circumstances you need to pay. For most CFAs, the agreement stipulates the fee structure, stipulating a portion of the settlement or judgment goes to your attorney.

Typical Costs

The final fee stipulated in a CFA is often unnerving for most clients because mounting health bills or other financial hardships weigh on them daily. However, while typical fees range from 30% for settlements to 40% for trials, these terms are negotiable in most scenarios. Though, any money received after making good on legal fees is likely beneficial to the client.


Again, the most significant benefit to a CFA is that it requires no upfront money. The collection of attorney fees comes out of the settlement agreement or the jury verdict. Therefore, payment comes after mediation or after a trial and not before, allowing a client to worry about the case ahead and not where the money is coming from to get their claim before a judge.

Disbursement Sheet

A disbursement sheet is a form that stipulates the settlement or verdict amount, attorney fees and other deductions related to your case. Your lawyer will present this to you, providing you the opportunity to clarify any expenses, challenge others or accept the form as is. Once you agree and sign the form, your attorney will give you a check for the remaining funds.

No Recovery

While most people want a favorable outcome, some cases end without a financial victory. When there is no recovery, the CFA does not require you to pay any attorney fees, which is an extra motivation for your attorney.

Do not let a lack of funds deter you from pursuing a legal action against a negligent party.