Research from the American Bar Association shows that millions of Americans cannot afford the legal representation they need. An alarming 80% of low-income individuals can’t afford legal help. Additionally, the middle class is also unable to afford up to 60% of its legal needs.
These shocking numbers indicate that many Americans do not have access to justice, or the ability to fight for compensation for injury and accident claims.
Fortunately, there is one alternative for those who can’t afford a lawyer for claim cases. These are “no win no fee” arrangements.
If you are unable to afford legal fees but have a valid claim case, hiring a lawyer on a no win no fee arrangement might be the ideal answer,
However, before you do, there are a few things you should know about no win no fee contracts. By informing yourself of the ins and outs of these you can ensure that your lawyer is giving you a fair deal and that you won’t be surprised by unexpected fees once you win your case.
How Do No Win No Fee Arrangements Work?
If you are wondering what is it called when a lawyer only gets paid if he wins, this is what’s known as no win no fee. The official term for this is a contingency fee.
This means that you do not have to pay your attorney unless they win your case. If they win, you will then be liable to pay them a portion of your claim amount.
If you do not have the money to hire legal counsel, then a no win no fee arrangement can be ideal.
However, no win no fee arrangements are not always as simple as this. There are some potential caveats to be aware of. Let’s take a look at some of these.
The Defense Can Dispute Your Lawyer Fees
If your case is successful, the defense will be liable for your lawyer’s fees. However, there is a potential catch here.
If the lawyer you choose charges overly high rates, the defendant is allowed to contest these. If the court agrees, the judge can reduce the amount the defense has to pay. In this case, you could be liable to pay off the balance.
Courts are able to substantially reduce attorney fees, in some cases by as much as 30%. Depending on the total sum of your attorney’s fees for the case, this could amount to thousands of dollars.
If You Win, You Pay
While this is not really a “catch”, it is something that people can forget about when hiring a contingency lawyer.
If your lawyer loses your case, you won’t have to pay them. However, if they are successfully, and you receive your settlement, you will need to pay them for their services as per their contingency agreement.
Contingency rates for successful cases may be higher than for traditional cases. However, given that you avoid the risk of paying attorney fees if your case is unsuccessful, this is worth it in many cases.
What Happens If My Medical Bills Take up the Whole Settlement?
When it comes to personal injury cases, in some rare instances, claim amounts may be eaten up almost entirely by medical bills. However, a skilled attorney should prevent this from happening. An experienced attorney knows how to reduce medical bills and liens, but in the case of a split in liability, the recovery could be only enough to cover medical bills.
The Benefits of No Win No Fee Cases
Now that we have covered some of the areas that clients need to be aware of when hiring a contingency lawyer, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of contingency cases.
One of the primary benefits is, of course, that if you don’t win your case, you won’t have to pay. The other is that you don’t need to have upfront capital to carry out your case.
Besides these benefits, there are two other substantial advantages to no win no fee cases. The first of these is that contingency attorneys are motivated to work harder for their clients. Their goals and their client’s goals are 100% aligned, which makes for a higher probability of success. Additionally, attorneys operating on a contingency basis can also act faster and more thoroughly.
Why is this? Well, in non-contingency fee cases, attorneys are required to consult their clients when pursuing avenues that will drive up costs. Such as sending out numerous subpoenas. When this occurs, attorneys must contact their clients and inquire whether the client is willing to undertake these additional costs for the sake of the case.
This can result in delays. What’s more, if clients decline due to budgetary constrictions, the case may suffer.
With contingency-based cases, these issues do not occur.
Do You Need a No Win No Fee Arrangement Minus Any Catches?
Although no win no fee agreements can have their share of drawbacks, there are attorney firms out there that design their contingency agreements with the wellbeing of their clients in mind.
To ensure that you don’t get caught out in a harsh contingency agreement, be sure to thoroughly discuss any details or questions you might have with your lawyer prior to signing.
Do you need a reliable and trustworthy contingency lawyer on your side? If so, you are in the right place. At Sweet Law, we’re committed to serving our clients fairly and honestly and are happy to answer in detail any contingency fee-related questions you might have.
If you want to find out more or have anything you’d like to ask, contact us today.