Understanding the Contingency Fee System in Personal Injury Cases

The contingency fee system allows injured people to hire an attorney without paying them upfront. Instead, the lawyer is paid a percentage of any award they win after the case concludes.

This arrangement helps to level the playing field for injury victims who would not otherwise be able to afford expensive legal representation. However, how exactly do contingency fees work?


The contingency fee system means you do not have to pay your lawyer any upfront fees for their services. Instead, your attorney will advance specific costs during the case, such as court and filing fees, payment to a court reporter used for depositions, and obtaining official medical records. These expenses will be paid out of any injury award negotiated or won at trial.

Your lawyer will provide a detailed breakdown of these costs and how they are calculated at the end of your case. For example, if the gross recovery is $100,000, your attorney may deduct their legal fees of one-third and the associated costs.

These arrangements ensure injured victims can access a personal injury attorney who will work hard to win the most compensation possible for their claims. They also encourage attorneys to be aggressive and take on more difficult cases.


Contingency fees are a great way to provide high-quality legal services to those who would otherwise not be able to afford them. In many injury cases, attorneys must spend significant time preparing medical and legal documents, investigating evidence, and building the case for a strong settlement or verdict award. Without the contingency fee arrangement, these lawyers would have to charge their clients upfront hourly for their services or face having to turn away cases that do not have the potential to win.

In addition, contingency fees of a law firm Maryland also provide a level playing field for injured accident victims against large defendants and insurance companies with deep pockets. If the victim were to pay the lawyer out of pocket while the lawsuit is being built and presented, our justice system could be distorted by the rich and poor. The contingency fees allow all injured people to file a lawsuit against the person or persons responsible for their injuries.


It is difficult to afford legal services based on an hourly rate in personal injury cases. The contingent fee arrangement allows injured victims to receive experienced legal representation without paying any upfront fees.

The system gives attorneys an incentive to work hard for their clients. The attorneys will only be paid if the defendant pays them.

Miscellaneous costs like court filing fees, expert witness fees, and obtaining official medical records are usually paid out of the injury award negotiated or won at trial. You should review your contract carefully with your attorney to ensure you understand the calculation of these extra fees and expenses.

Taking cases contingently is good because everyone deserves experienced legal help after an accident or injury. If an injured victim had to pay a traditional attorney’s set hourly rate for years until they obtained compensation, many would never be able to seek justice.


A few things could be improved to work with a contingency fee system. The most obvious is that your attorney will have to cover the costs of your case, such as court filing fees, medical assessments, mileage costs, money paid to experts and more. These expenses can add up quickly.

Another drawback is that your attorney will take more risk with a contingency fee arrangement than with a retainer. They can only earn their normal hourly rate if the case is won.

Despite these drawbacks, contingency fees are still the best option for many injured people who cannot afford the high upfront costs of hiring an experienced personal injury attorney. However, you should always carefully examine the details of your contingency agreement before signing. Check that you understand all of the terms and conditions. Also, you should never sign a contingency agreement for a criminal or family law case, as this could be considered a condoning illegal activity.

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