Home > Blog > How Does a Contingency Fee Work?

A contingency fee is a fee that is only payable upon a certain outcome. This type of payment arrangement is most often seen with personal injury attorneys who don’t get paid unless their clients actually win their claims. It’s important to understand that these fee arrangements do not equate to free legal services, a common misconception.

How They Are Disclosed

Before a contingency lawyer agrees to take you on as a client, they will disclose how much they will collect in fees. This is usually specified as a percentage of any amount of money recovered as a result of the lawsuit.

These types of fees are only used in personal injury claims, according to the Legal Dictionary. In order for the attorney to receive any payment at all, they have to fulfill all of their contractual obligations to their client and they have to win compensation for the client.


Remember that, once you engage the services of an attorney, you should never work around them to try to resolve the case yourself. For example, if you happen to negotiate a settlement on your own without your attorney there, the settlement may be too low to cover their legal fees and this could end up being a problem.

The advantage of contingency fees is that it creates an incentive for attorneys to only make claims that they feel are likely to win. This allows clients to proceed with their claims with more comfort, knowing their attorney truly believes in what they are doing.