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Contingency Fees

by | Feb 21, 2024 | Firm News

Hey, this is Attorney Hunter Cavell in Cleveland, Ohio. And today I want to talk about something called contingency fees.

Now, you’ve seen the lawyer ads that say, we don’t get paid unless you get paid, blah, blah, blah. Well, what does that really mean?

What that means is the lawyer has entered into an agreement to take some of the proceeds. So let’s say that there’s a car accident and there’s a hundred thousand dollars in damages. A lot of times the attorney will take a third of that before suit or 40% of that at trial. Now that seems like a lot, but let’s break down what’s all involved in this.

First off, the lawyer is putting out their time and their money. It costs money to file complaints and it costs even more money to take depositions, which include court reporter fees, stuff like that. It also takes the lawyer’s time. I’ve been told before that lawyers are not cheap hourly. So, when taking contingency cases, a lot of attorneys will only take them if liability is clear. Again, with a car accident, if somebody hits you and the other driver got a ticket, liability is pretty clear and you’re basically fighting over damages, how much money you’re going to get.  

Attorneys will also take contingency cases where the liability is a little less clear if the damages are higher. So let’s say somebody alleges a wrongful death from medical malpractice. It might be hard to prove that, and it could very well cost over $100,000 in expert fees as well as years of the attorney’s time. But if they can make one or two million, a third of that or 40% of that is up to about $800,000, it may be worth the risk. So that’s why a lot of attorneys will not take contingency cases if the damages are low or if the liability is questionable, both. I do take some contingency cases, but again, it’s got to be one of those two things. Hopefully this helps you decide in picking a lawyer. Check out or call me at 440-940-6441 to see if I can help out. Thank you.