How Does a Personal Injury Contingency Fee Actually Work?

by Kevin Landry on April 18, 2013

rhode island personal injury lawyers contingency fee

Most personal injury lawyers work on what’s known as contingency. But most people have no idea what contingency actually means.

According to, contingency is defined as:

“A method of paying a lawyer for legal representation by which, instead of an hourly or per job fee, the lawyer receives a percentage of the money her client obtains after settling or winning the case”

However, lawyers representing defendants charged with crimes cannot charge contingency fees. Also, in most states like Massachusetts and Rhode Island, personal injury contingency fee agreements must be in writing.

Personal Injury Lawyers Working on Contingency

When speaking with clients, I ask them to bear in mind that although our firm works on the “no fee if no recovery” contingency principle that most personal injury attorneys rely on, it’s important for them to know exactly what this means with regards to their specific case.

Regardless of which personal injury attorney you choose to employ, you’re almost always responsible for your medical expenses – no matter which way the case is resolved. And in the best case scenario when you win, your medical expenses will likely be fully covered by the settlement amount.

If you lose, however, and are not able to recover any money from the insurance company, you’re still responsible for paying your own medical bills.

Be Careful of Hidden Fees from Certain Personal Injury Lawyers

You should also be careful of some personal injury attorneys that will leave you responsible for some costs that they incur while preparing your case, so beware.You think you are going in on contingency and then you get a bill weeks later that you never expected.

So if they don’t specifically state “no fees” on their website…then make sure to inquire about any hidden fees.

Be mindful when you hire a personal injury attorney. You should be very clear on exactly how the recovery amounts and monies owed are divided between you and them. This also includes any medical bills or other expenses regardless of the outcome of the case. In most cases, your medical bills will be covered by you or your insurance company.

My firm’s telephone and in-person consultations are always done at no charge and no obligation. We don’t strong arm people to employ our firm. In fact, many cases, we simply won’t take on because we want to focus our efforts on a handful of clients where we can really make a difference.

However this is not how all firms operate-which is of course perfectly OK. Each practice varies at least slightly with how they approach fees. The main thing is to be informed, and not be afraid to ask questions if you are confused about how fees work.

Kevin Landry
Kevin is a personal injury attorney with 18 offices throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island. His focus is on maintaining empathy while striving to get the best possible results for his clients.
Kevin Landry
Kevin Landry

Previous post:

Next post: