Contingency Fee Agreement in Washington State: What You Need to Know
In Washington State, personal injury cases are typically handled on a contingency fee basis. This means that your attorney will only be paid if they successfully recover compensation for you. But what exactly is a contingency fee agreement and how does it work in Washington State?
Definition of Contingency Fee Agreement
A contingency fee agreement is a contract between you and your attorney that outlines how they will be compensated for their services. The agreement stipulates that the attorney will only be paid if they successfully recover compensation for you. If they do not win your case, you will not be billed for their time and effort.
Contingency fee agreements are commonly used in personal injury cases because clients may not have the means to pay for attorney fees upfront. This arrangement allows clients to have access to legal representation without the financial burden of paying for it upfront.
How Contingency Fee Agreements Work in Washington State
In Washington State, the contingency fee agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. It must also clearly state the percentage of the recovery that the attorney will receive as their fee. In Washington State, attorneys typically charge between 25% and 40% of the total recovery.
It`s important to note that the attorney`s percentage is taken out of the total recovery, which includes not only compensation for damages but also any additional costs such as medical bills or court fees. This means that if you are awarded $100,000 for damages but have $10,000 in medical bills, the attorney`s fee will be based on the $100,000, not the $90,000 you receive after medical bills are paid.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Contingency Fee Agreements
The main advantage of a contingency fee agreement is that clients have access to legal representation without the financial burden of paying for it upfront. This allows clients to pursue compensation for their injuries and damages that they may not have been able to otherwise.
Another advantage is that attorneys are incentivized to work hard to win your case. Because they only get paid if they win, they have a vested interest in getting you the best possible settlement.
However, there are also disadvantages to contingency fee agreements. Because attorneys are only paid if they win, they may be less likely to take on cases that they don`t think they can win. This means that clients with weaker cases may have a harder time finding representation.
Additionally, because the attorney`s fee is based on a percentage of the total recovery, clients may end up paying more in fees than they would if they had paid for the attorney`s time upfront.
Contingency fee agreements are a common arrangement in personal injury cases in Washington State. They allow clients to access legal representation without the financial burden of paying for it upfront. However, it`s important to understand the terms of the agreement and the potential advantages and disadvantages before signing on. If you have questions about contingency fee agreements or need legal representation for a personal injury case, don`t hesitate to contact a qualified attorney.