Hiring a lawyer can be expensive and somewhat confusing. There are hourly fees, fixed fees, and contingency fees.  Here's the difference:

  • Hourly fees are the attorney's hourly rate for handling your case; this will vary depending on the hours your attorney puts into your case.
  • A fixed fee is a set amount the attorney will charge you for handling your case. 
  • For personal injury cases, the most common fee arrangement is a contingency fee. In the contingency fee arrangement, the attorney does not receive a fee unless the client recovers an award.  If the client recovers any money in the case, the attorney will receive his percentage of that award.  The percentage is determined by agreement of the parties.  In Nebraska, that amount ranges from 25% to 50% of the award.  For example, if a client and an attorney agree to a 50% contingency fee and the client is awarded $100,000, the attorney’s fee would be $50,000.  

What You Need to Know About Contingency Fees

There are some things to understand about a contingency fee.  The costs incurred in a case—such as filing fees with the court, depositions, and obtaining reports—are not included in the contingency fee.  They must be paid by the client, and they must be paid whether or not the client receives any monetary award.

The contingency fee arrangement is valid even if a case does not go to trial but is instead settled during negotiations. Because your attorney is working on your behalf in order to obtain fair compensation for your injury, he is to be compensated even when the case does not go to the courtroom.  This can be to your advantage, as litigation is costly and time-consuming.

Note that the contingency fee agreement is not valid in certain types of legal representation, such as criminal cases or divorce matters.  It is, however, quite common in personal injury cases.  Be sure to understand the fee arrangement you have with your attorney; an experienced attorney will explain his fee arrangement in easy to understand terms.  If there is no contingency fee arrangement made, you must pay your attorney whether or not you recover an award.

How Steffens Law Offices Can Help

Steffens Law Offices is a Nebraska personal injury law firm located in Broken Bow, NE.  If you would like to discuss your personal injury claim and find out how William V. Steffens and Jeremiah J. Luebbe, personal injury attorneys with nearly 30 years of combined experience, can assist you, please call us at 308-872-8327 to schedule a free consultation.  Our Nebraska personal injury attorneys are ready to help you.

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