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Contingency Basis and Car Accident Lawyers: Everything You Need to Know




As you look to hire a Detroit based car accident lawyer, you may hear the words contingency basis or contingency fee. If you have never hired a personal injury lawyer before, you may be unfamiliar with this term and may not fully understand what it means. It is important to understand this term, as it has to do with the way your lawyer gets paid. Here is everything that you should know about contingency fees and car accident lawyers.

What Does it Mean When a Lawyer Works on a Contingency Basis?

It can be confusing to hear that a lawyer works on a contingency fee if you are not familiar with this term. It essentially means that a lawyer does not charge you by the hour or charge you a flat fee for work on your case. Instead, they take a percentage of the settlement amount or award amount for your case. The majority of car accident attorneys or personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, as it allows individuals who may not have the funds to hire an attorney to get legal representation.

How Much of Your Settlement or Award Can Lawyers Take?

The amount that lawyers can take from a settlement or award varies by state. In some states, there are no maximums, while in other states there are. In the state of Michigan, a lawyer can take up to one-third of your settlement or award. Always ask a lawyer what percentage they take, and then ensure that that percentage is very clearly stated in the attorney’s retainer paperwork.


If a lawyer is working on a contingency basis, they will receive their compensation directly from the insurance company or plaintiff, and you will be given a check for the amount of settlement or award you are entitled to.

What Happens if You Receive No Settlement or Award?

Suppose an attorney is working on a contingency basis, and your case is dismissed or a jury does not award you any money. In that case, the lawyer is not entitled to any compensation. This is why most lawyers will require a consultation with you before taking on their case. They are selective about what types of cases they take on and whether they feel it is financially worth it. This helps them avoid cases that they may not win or cases that may require more work than they are willing to put in based on how much they estimate the case to be worth.


When you are looking to hire a car accident lawyer, you will quickly learn that the majority of them work on a contingency basis. This is great for you because you do not have to worry about paying a lawyer upfront for their services. This allows any injured party to hire a lawyer, regardless of their financial situation. However, the contingency fee can vary from one law firm to another, so always ensure you know what percentage of your settlement or award a lawyer is entitled to before signing a contract to retain them.

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