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Understanding the Contingency Fee


If you suffered injuries in an accident and are looking for an attorney, you may be unsure of what to expect when it comes to paying for legal services. Thankfully, at Spiros Law, P.C., we work on a contingency fee basis (for the majority of our cases). This means you don’t pay any fees unless your attorney recovers compensation through a settlement or court verdict. When you’re dealing with physical injuries and financial stress, not having to worry about legal bills can be a significant source of relief.

At Spiros Law, P.C., we typically use a contingency fee structure when representing accident victims rather than charging our clients by the hour. Offering our services through a contingency fee arrangement aligns the interests of the client and the attorney as we pursue the best possible outcome.

What Is a Contingency Fee in a Personal Injury Case?

Contingency fee arrangements are among the most common attorney payment options in personal injury cases. In this type of arrangement, you don’t pay your attorney unless and until you’re awarded compensation. In other words, your personal injury lawyer fees are “contingent” upon you receiving compensation in your case.

When you hire an attorney on a contingency fee basis, you agree to give them a percentage of any financial recovery. In Illinois, the typical contingency fee is approximately one-third of the total amount awarded. However, you may pay a higher or lower percentage depending on the complexity of your case and whether the agreement includes a sliding scale. At Spiros Law, P.C., your attorney will always review the structure of the contingency fee in your case and make sure you fully understand prior to moving forward.

Costs in Contingency Cases

Although you won’t pay any attorney fees out of pocket under your contingency fee arrangement, your agreement may establish your responsibility for paying certain expenses and costs related to your personal injury lawsuit. Some of the typical costs incurred in personal injury cases include:

  • Filing Fee – This is the fee for filing a lawsuit with the court clerk. The fee depends on the court and the county where you file suit. For example, it costs $306 to file a tort action in the Sixth Circuit Court in Champaign County.
  • Deposition Transcripts – When witnesses are deposed, a court reporter records every word they say. Depending on the length of the deposition, the transcript they produce for use at trial may cost several hundred dollars or more.
  • Expert Witness Fees – Complex personal injury cases may require expert testimony related to your medical treatment or the mechanics of how the accident occurred. Clients may be required to pay the expert’s hourly rate to develop a report.
  • Mediator Expenses – In some cases, the parties may choose to enter mediation before the case goes to trial. The mediator will charge an hourly rate to prepare for and oversee the mediation. Typically, the plaintiff and defendant will split these costs.
  • Overhead Costs – Although not a huge expense, you may be responsible for expenses like postage and copying. Some law firms also pass some of the cost of their research tools along to their clients on a prorated basis.

Depending on the fee agreement, you may be required to pay a portion of these costs upfront and on a rolling basis as they are incurred throughout the case. Typically, these costs will be deducted from any compensation your attorney recovers for you. Your contingency fee agreement will specify if you’ll pay any lawyer fees on settlement of your case.

The Benefits of a Contingency Fee Agreement

A contingency fee agreement is attractive to many clients in personal injury cases because the circumstances of their injuries may severely limit their ability to pay for legal representation upfront. For example, many injured parties face considerable medical expenses, and if they aren’t able to work while they recover, they may have far less money coming in than they’re used to.

As a result, having the option of forgoing payment of attorney fees until their case concludes – and having their attorney’s pay be contingent upon their recovering compensation – provides much-needed financial and emotional relief at a difficult time.

Contact a Central Illinois Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you were hurt in an accident someone else caused, contact Spiros Law, P.C. today to speak with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers in a free consultation. We are dedicated to helping accident victims pursue the compensation they need to get their lives back on track as soon as possible. Call us today at (815) 929-9292 to get started with your case.