Everything You Need to Know About Contingency Fee Arrangements

Legal proceedings can be very expensive, hindering many people from seeking the compensation they deserve. Some law firms will even bill their clients by the hour to extract higher legal fees. Unless your lawyer has agreed to work pro bono, they will expect compensation for the legal services they provide.

Although some law firms prefer hourly charges, reputable organizations, such as Hughey Law Firm, take cases on a contingency fee arrangement. Hiring a lawyer on a contingency fee agreement allows you to receive legal representation without paying a substantial amount.

What Is a Contingency Fee?

A contingency fee is a form of legal payment that a lawyer receives when a client gets compensation for the injury or harm they endured. Instead of the attorney charging an hourly rate or flat fee, they will get a fixed percentage of the compensation they help you obtain. The contingency fee will fluctuate based on the following:

  • The complexity of your case
  • The risks involved with the case
  • Who pays the litigation costs and when?
  • Expected duration of the case
  • Time limitations enacted by the client

If you lose the case, you will not be awarded any money and may not pay your attorney for working on your case. However, you will settle all court filing fees and other administrative costs.

Contingency Fee Percentages

Contingent fees vary from one lawyer to another and case to case. On average, the contingency cost varies between 30% and 45% based on the strength of the case, the number of possible wins for the client, and many other factors. The percentage is usually fixed, and you must agree with the attorney before they start working on your case.

When Are Contingency Fees Used?

Contingency fees are beneficial in costly or complex cases and if the client lacks funds. Since payments are not made for lost cases, most personal injury lawyers will only accept cases with a clear present liability.

Lawyers mainly accept a contingency fee agreement in civil cases such as personal injury cases or workers’ compensation claims. However, some lawyers may use contingency fees in the following situations:

  • Bankruptcy cases
  • Sexual harassment cases
  • Wage dispute cases
  • Professional malpractice cases
  • Employment discrimination cases
  • Debt collection cases
  • Class action lawsuits

When are Contingency Fees Not Applied?

Although contingency fees may be immensely beneficial to clients, they are not always endorsed. They are prohibited in cases such as:

  • Clear-cut Cases: If your case appears like an obvious win, a lawyer should advise you on the work your case needs and offer a reasonable rate. If not, the attorney will appear to be taking advantage of you and your case’s circumstances.
  • Family Law and Criminal Law Cases: It is against the professional ethics rules for lawyers to work on a contingency basis when dealing with a family law case or a criminal matter. This may be interpreted as encouraging or condoning divorce or unlawful activity.

Benefits of Contingency Fees

There are advantages to contingency fee agreements. They include:

  • Attorney Incentive: Attorneys will be motivated to work tirelessly on your case and obtain maximum compensation since they only get paid when you get some monetary compensation.
  • No Fees Upfront: With the contingency fee arrangement, you don’t have to pay any legal bills as the case is ongoing. This allows people with lower incomes to access the legal representation they deserve.
  • Paying Attorney Fees: You only pay the attorney when they win the case or obtain a settlement.
  • Increased Compensation: Hiring a personal injury attorney on a contingency basis will help you recover more money than you would get if you handled the case independently.

Disadvantages of Contingency Fee

Most contingency fee agreements tend to work out perfectly. However, sometimes, this legal fee structure may not be a good decision.

  • Sometimes Costs You More: A contingency fee arrangement may cost you more than you would have spent on an hourly arrangement.
  • Lawyers Avoid Your Case: With the contingency fee arrangement, many lawyers are selective about the cases they take. Therefore, your case may be passed up, especially if it is much riskier or does not appear successful.


Contingency fee arrangements are an excellent tool if you have a solid legal case but cannot afford litigation costs. These legal fee arrangements help you pursue compensation and justice without immediate financial strain. We hope that by looking into the details provided in this guide, you will better understand contingency fees and how they can help you in different legal situations.

If you have more questions or need legal representation, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. These professionals will help you determine whether you have a viable claim and your chances of success. They will also explain their contingency fee agreement and help you obtain the compensation and justice you deserve.