An injury case is usually handled on a “contingent fee” basis under a written agreement between the client and his or her attorney. This type of fee agreement increases access to justice through the courts by making it easier to pay for legal services. The plaintiff is only responsible for paying his or her attorney’s fee if the case is won, with the payment coming as a percentage of the recovery.
Here is how one court described this type of fee and its usefulness for people hurt by someone else’s carelessness:
“Attorney contingency fee contracts serve two main purposes. First, they allow plaintiffs who cannot afford to pay a lawyer up-front to pay the lawyer out of any recovery. Second, such contracts, because they offer the potential of a greater fee than might be earned under an hourly billing method, compensate the attorney for the risk that the attorney will receive no fee whatsoever if the case is lost. The lawyer in effect lends the value of his services, which is secured by a share in the client’s potential recovery. Under some contingency fee contracts, the attorney also agrees to advance the out-of-pocket costs of the litigation. In such cases, the attorney not only risks the loss of the fee, but also risks the loss of actual expenditures.” Arthur Andersen v. Perry Equip. Corp., 945 SW 2d 812, 818 (Tex 1997) (internal citations omitted).