What Are Contingency Fees & Why Do They Matter in a Motorcycle Accident
I often hear from motorcycle accident victims who are reluctant to hire me because they don’t have the money to pay for a lawyer to look into their claim.
I’m glad, however, that they reached out to me, because not only does my law firm offer free consultations for bikers who have been involved in accidents, but they don’t pay any fees until they receive a motorcycle accident settlement or win their motorcycle lawsuit!
You may have seen the phrase “contingency fee,” floating around. If you have had an accident and are searching for a New Jersey motorcycle accident attorney to represent you, you will almost certainly have run across this term.
If you’re not steeped in the legal field, you’re probably wondering what it means, how it allows a lawyer to offer free consultations, how it factors into the way I get paid, and most importantly, what it means for your claim.
Let’s dig in and find out.
Lawyer Contingency Fee Defined
When something is “contingent”, it is dependent on chance or on the fulfillment of a condition. So a contingency fee is pretty much exactly what it sounds like.
It’s a type of client-lawyer fee arrangement wherein the attorney is paid a percentage of the awarded damages; contingent upon him or her winning your case. The less of an amount is recovered, the less the attorney gets paid.
The motivating idea behind this arrangement is that it allows everyday people access to the legal system, because there’s no up-front cost to the client. It’s a powerful concept: regardless of one’s wealth or standing, we should all have equal opportunity to seek justice when we feel we’ve been wronged.
This appeals to me as a motorcycle accident lawyer with a focus on protecting your rights. I understand that most bikers don’t necessarily have a high-powered attorney on retainer just in case they get injured. Contingency fees allow these hard-working folks to recover the damages they are owed.
From a purely practical standpoint, an arrangement of this type may allow you to earn a larger recovery because your attorney will be anxious to get paid as much and as quickly as possible.
It’s one of those rare win-win situations.
New Jersey Contingency Fee Cap
Most states cap the allowed percentage of the award going to the injury attorney. In New Jersey there is a 33% cap on these arrangements for injured adults, and a 25% cap for injured minors.
To break it down for you in real life terms, let’s say you have a motorcycle accident and we win a total award of $50,000. Let’s further assume we had $5,000 in case expenses. That leaves your net recovery at $45,000. My fee in this case would be $15,000, and your take home would be $30,000.
The amount of this recovery will be decided based on either how much the other driver’s insurance provider is willing to settle for, or by how much a jury is willing to award based on the strength of our case. This takes into account your pain and suffering, medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and so forth.
As you can see, this arrangement provides a strong incentive for me to fight hard to win your case. To put it in the most basic of terms, the larger the settlement, the more we both get paid.
From your perspective, you want an attorney with experience, tenacity, connections, and a track record of success. As it turns out this describes me to a Tee.
If you have further questions about how an experienced New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyer can leverage this system to your advantage, contact Lee Gaber, Esquire now at 888-292-5352, for more information.