If you`re in New York and in need of legal services, you may have come across the term “contingency fee agreement”. This type of agreement can be helpful if you don`t have the funds to pay for a lawyer upfront, but it`s important to understand the details before signing on the dotted line.
What is a contingency fee agreement?
A contingency fee agreement is a contract between a client and a lawyer that allows the lawyer to receive a percentage of the settlement or verdict in a case, rather than billing the client by the hour. This means that the client won`t need to pay any legal fees unless the case is successful. The percentage that the lawyer will receive is usually agreed upon before the case begins.
Why would I need a contingency fee agreement?
Contingency fee agreements can be useful in cases where the client cannot afford to pay legal fees upfront. For example, if you`ve been injured in an accident and are unable to work, you may not have the funds to pay for legal representation. A contingency fee agreement allows you to pursue legal action without upfront costs.
Additionally, contingency fee agreements can be advantageous to clients in cases where the potential settlement or verdict is high. A lawyer may be more willing to take on a case if they know they have the opportunity to receive a percentage of a large award.
What are the risks of a contingency fee agreement?
While contingency fee agreements can be helpful in many cases, it`s important to understand the risks before signing on. One major risk is that the percentage paid to the lawyer can be high – usually between 30% and 40% of the settlement or verdict. This means that if your case is successful, you`ll receive less money than you would have if you had paid legal fees upfront.
Another risk is that if the case is unsuccessful, you may still be responsible for certain costs, such as court fees or expert witness fees. It`s important to discuss these potential costs with your lawyer before signing a contingency fee agreement.
How should I choose a lawyer for a contingency fee agreement?
If you`re considering a contingency fee agreement, it`s important to choose a lawyer who is experienced in your type of case and has a track record of success. Additionally, you should ask your potential lawyer to explain the terms of the agreement in detail, including the percentage they will receive and any potential costs you may be responsible for.
In conclusion, a contingency fee agreement can be a helpful option for those who cannot afford to pay legal fees upfront. However, it`s important to understand the risks and choose a lawyer carefully before signing on. If you`re in New York and considering a contingency fee agreement, be sure to do your research and make an informed decision.