Illinois Contingency Fee Attorneys
Fees are one of the least discussed parts of any legal case yet they are highly important to both the client and to the lawyer. There are three common fee arrangements used by lawyers: a flat fee, an hourly rate, and a contingency fee. A flat fee is a fee set at the beginning of the case that is negotiated by the attorney and the client and stays the same no matter how much time and effort the attorney puts into your case. A flat fee is typically available for routine and relatively straightforward cases. An hourly rate is the amount the attorney charges the client for every hour he or she works on your case. It is important to ask what is included in the hourly rate. Costs and out-of-pocket expenses are usually billed in addition to the hourly rate.
In contingency fee cases, the attorney's fee is based on what is awarded in the case. If you are looking for an attorney that "doesn't get paid unless they win the case" then you want a contingency fee. The attorney agrees to take on the case without being paid upfront or charging an hourly fee. If there is no recovery the attorney is paid nothing. Alternatively, if your case wins, the attorney is awarded a certain percentage of the amount obtained. The percentage amount will vary, but is usually influenced by the type of case involved, the lawyer's estimate of its strength, and the stage at which recovery is made. In certain types of cases the law sets the percentage of the contingency fee. It may be a fixed percentage, such as 20% of the settlement as in workers' compensation cases, or based on a sliding scale that changes depending on the amount recovered as in medical malpractice cases.
Lawyers charge contingency fees because it allows many clients to bring lawsuits they would not have been able to afford otherwise. By taking fees and costs out of the money awarded to the client, the lawyer can pay the expenses of going to trial so the client doesn't have to. The lawyers we recommend are able to do this because they have a proven track record of success and they win most of their cases so the risk of not getting paid for their work is justified by their history of success.
Contingency fees are typically used in injury cases (such as workers' compensation, personal injury, medical malpractice and nursing home abuse), challenges to a will (if there is a real dispute), commercial litigation where you are the plaintiff, employment law cases dealing with overtime or compensation (if the dollar amount owed is enough), collections cases (again, if the amount owed is enough), and some child support cases. Child support cases rarely are handled on a contingency fee basis unless it is known that the money is there and can be collected.
Contingency fees are prohibited in criminal cases because there is no possibility of a financial recovery that would be the source of the contingent fee. Contingency fees are also prohibited in divorce proceedings due to public policy favoring the continuation of marriage. For example, an attorney may discourage reconciliation if a fee depends on the granting of a divorce. Illinois defense attorneys or criminal attorneys would not work on a contingency basis since civil and criminal defendants are not awarded monetary damages if they win the case.
We strongly suggest that you not just hire a lawyer because they only get paid if they win, but also hire the right lawyer for your case. If you would like help in finding such an attorney please contact us at any time. All inquiries are free and confidential. We promise to answer your questions and if needed, suggest an independent firm that has a real track record of success.