What Are Contingency Fees and How Do They Work?

Hand holding pen and writing

When you’re injured because of someone else’s negligence, you may have also suffered from financial losses as well. In these cases, you can hire a personal injury lawyer to help you with your claim and fight to get the compensation you deserve. But another aspect of this is how you’re paying your attorney. One of the payment methods is through contingency fees.

Not everyone may be familiar with how contingency fees work or what they even mean. Mike Breen’s office wants you to have all the information, so you’re prepared to speak confidently about the matter when you meet with your lawyer. Here is what you need to know about contingency fees.


In a personal injury case, you can sue for damages. Usually, this can be for medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, and lost wages if your injuries prevented you from working. Part of that settlement can be used to pay your lawyer.

A contingency fee is an arrangement that your lawyer will get a percentage of your compensation after your case is settled. In the event that you lose, your lawyer won’t receive any money. However, if you lose your case you could still have to pay for certain fees. This includes covering court costs and expert witnesses.

When determining which lawyer is going to represent you, don’t believe that the most expensive automatically means the best legal services and finding a lawyer with cheaper rates is a fantastic deal. What you want to look for is the lawyer’s area of expertise and their experience vs. cost. You definitely want an attorney who has had success in cases like yours in the past.


Contingency fee rates aren’t fixed from the start. You can negotiate. One example is agreeing to a sliding scale depending on the amount of your settlement. It could be something like your lawyer gets a set percentage up to a certain dollar amount, and as the dollar amount changes, so does the percentage.

What you need to think about is how much work your case is going to take and what your lawyer is putting into your case. While some cases are easier to settle, there may be some that could potentially take years to settle. When meeting with your lawyer, you may want to ask if they could give you a general estimate of how long they think your case may take.

When you agree on a contingency fee, it should be in writing. This gives the opportunity for everything to be laid out and explained in front of you. There won’t be any gray areas or items that can get lost in translation. You may find that your lawyer charges for certain things like courier services, filing fees, making copies, and delivering documents. You may be able to talk about fees like this and ask if there’s anything you can do so you can lower your overall cost.


For your case to be successful, you’ll want to be honest with your lawyer from the start. When they have all the information, they can do their job more effectively. This could mean avoiding curve balls in the future that halt the case or put your claim in jeopardy. Withholding information or not being honest could create a setback that will take more time for your lawyer to work through. This could increase your court fees and you will owe more money after the case is over.


Mike Breen is dedicated to helping residents of Kentucky protect their rights. We are prepared to put in the work that will get you a favorable settlement. If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s recklessness, we are here for you.

We have experience in motor vehicle accident cases involving cars and trucks. We understand how difficult personal injury claims can be. It can be overwhelming to be injured and trying to handle insurance adjusters, bills, and recovery all at once. We’re here so you don’t have to do all of that on your own. With our law firm at your side, you can rest assured that professionals are looking out for your best interests.

Recent Posts