Telephone and radio ads are filled with lawyer advertisements claiming you have nothing to worry about and representation will cost you nothing because the lawyer offers you a contingency fee. The ads do not explain a contingency fee but seem to imply that if you are injured it is the one and only way for you to be able to afford to take legal action to protect your interest.
A contingency fee is an agreement whereby a lawyer or law firm agrees to represent you and you agree to the lawyer or law firm being your lawyer in exchange for payment of their services based upon a percentage of the recovery. This includes the gross recovery which could be payment for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, loss of consortium, society and companionship, etc. Each case is different and each case brings with it different damages; however, the lawyer is paid for his or her time from the percentage of the gross recovery.
The percentage depends upon the area of law and the locality in the country where the lawyer is practicing. Generally, in Wisconsin, personal injury cases are handled on a 33 1/3% contingency fee while a worker’s compensation lawyer cannot charge you more than 20% of the amount in disupte. In worker’s compensation cases the gross amount generally has to do with disability payments and normally does not include reimbursement of past medical expenses or payment of future medical expenses.
In medical malpractice cases, the percentage a lawyer can charge depends upon the amount of settlement or verdict. The percentage varies between 25 – 33 1/3%.
In Wisconsin, lawyers have to advise clients that they have a choice of hiring the lawyer on an hourly basis or a contingency fee basis. On an hourly basis, you pay by the hour for the work performed regardless of the outcome. In a contingency fee case, you pay a percentage of the recovery and if there is no recovery you generally owe nothing for fees.
What generally is not discussed are costs and disbursements. The expenses associated with the litigation such as court fees, travel expenses, expert witness fees, deposition expenses, etc. Most law firms advance those fees on behalf of the client throughout the course of litigation and receive reimbursement for those expenses at the time of settlement or verdict. Costs and disbursements are in addition to the percentage that you agree to pay your lawyer. Costs and disbursements are generally the client’s responsibility whether you hire the lawyer by the hour or on a contingency fee.
Contingency fees allow individuals to have link representation to protect their interest when they are injured as a result of the negligence of others. Generally, these cases are against big insurance companies or corporations who have much more money then individuals. The lawyer is sharing the risk with the client by not getting paid unless there is a recovery and while both the attorney and the client are benefited the more the amount of the settlement or verdict.
In some cases, the law does not allow a lawyer to charge a contingency fee. In most family law cases including divorce, contingency fees are not allowed. In some cases, lawyers offer a combination of a minimum hourly rate and a contingency fee based upon a recovery. These types of mixed fee agreements work well in commercial cases involving businesses.
We have been representing people who have been harmed by other’s negligence for 27 years. We offer contingency fee cases in a variety of legal areas and also are willing to discuss mixed fee arrangements depending upon the type of case.
A contingency fee allows you to pursue your legal rights when you are injured because of the negligence of another without incurring huge legal expenses or risking your family’s financial security. If you or a loved one have been injured because of the negligence of another or have any questions about your legal rights please contact Attorney Mark L. Krueger or comment below.
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