If you have been injured, you may need to hire a lawyer. This lawyer can agree to only get paid when you win your case, in a settlement or after a trial. This type of agreement is called a « contingency fee agreement ». The lawyer’s fee is contingent on the amount of your settlement or trial award.
A contingency fee agreement cannot be offered for family law or criminal matters. It can only be offered in a legal matter where the client expects to receive money. When a contingency fee agreement is offered, legal services are often provided to you in exchange for a percentage of the amount of money recovered by you. If you lose your case, you do not pay legal fees, but you may have to pay some legal expenses.
They are other ways to pay your lawyer, such as paying an hourly rate or a fixed amount for the legal services. These options are often not financially possible for a victim of a car accident.
FEW THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT CONTINGENCY FEE AGREEMENT
If you and your lawyer decide on a contingency fee agreement, there are few things that you should know.
The percentage for the contingency fee is proposed by the lawyer and agreed by you. The percentage applies to the amount of money that you will receive for your damages, the interest, and the contribution by the other side to help you pay the legal fees. It does not apply to disbursements. Disbursements are the legal expenses incurred by your lawyer to advance your claim. They can include court fees, medical reports, and medical records.
There is a maximum fee that a lawyer can charge. The fee cannot be more than the amount you receive, less the disbursements.
If you want to compare the percentage offered by personal injury lawyers, you can start by looking at their website. Lawyers must post the maximum contingency fee they charge on their website or tell you when you call them. At Burn Tucker Lachaîne P.C., our maximum fee is 33%. This does not mean that we will charge 33% in every case. Rather, this is the maximum for complex cases. Our contingency fee ranges from 20 to 30% depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Be cautious if your lawyer did not post the maximum contingency fee on her or his website. This is a requirement since July 1, 2021.
Your lawyer must also give you a guide on contingency fee agreements which was prepared by the Law Society. Here is a copy of this guide.
Even with a contingency fee agreement, you have the right to make the important decisions about your case. Important decisions include settling your case or going to trial.
At the end of your case, your lawyer must explain why the contingency fee is reasonable. You have the right to ask the court to assess your lawyer’s statement of account if you don’t agree with it.
If the injured victim is a party under disability, including children under the age of 18, a judge must approve the contingency fee agreement. It is not enough for the child’s parent to have signed the agreement. The judge will make sure that the fee and disbursements are reasonable.
LOOKING FOR A LAWYER?
If you are looking to hire a lawyer because you have been injured, contact us today by calling us at 613-233-6898 or by texting us at 613-777-0992. We offer a free initial consultation with no obligation.
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