Our lawyers do not accept hourly payment for our services in personal injury cases (which is the only type of case our law firm handles). Our personal injury clients are not charged an hourly or set fee for our services. Instead, all of our clients are on a contingency fee retainer. We charge 33-1/3% of the settlement amount in all cases that we settle before filing a lawsuit and 40% of any money we recover for the client after a lawsuit is filed. If you lose your case, our law firm receives no fee, and you do not have to pay any court costs or other expenses incurred in your case. (We don’t negotiate our fee.)
Below is an example of the contingency fee agreement our lawyers use. Our fee agreement used to be quite long. Over the years, we have narrowed it down to a few paragraphs to make it as simple and as victim friendly as possible. It reads:
I retain Miller & Zois, LLC (M&Z) as my Attorneys to represent me against any individual, company or entity for injuries sustained arising out of an incident which occurred on September 28, 2017.
My Attorneys will receive as their fee thirty-three and one-third percent (33-1/3%) of the gross amount received by way of settlement. In the event that a lawsuit is filed, my Attorneys shall receive as their fee forty percent (40%) of the gross amount recovered.
M&Z will advance all reasonable and necessary expenses associated with my case. Expenses include, but are not limited to, copies of medical records, police reports, depositions, investigative fees, photocopying, postage, filing fees of the court, expert witness fees, court reporter and videographer fees, travel expenses and any other expenses necessary for the proper handling of my case. If there is a recovery in my case, these expenses will be deducted after the contingency fee is calculated and will be reimbursed to M&Z out of any financial recovery obtained on my behalf.
M&Z will handle my personal injury protection claim, if applicable, at no charge to me. M&Z will assist me in handling my property damage claim, but will not take any fee out of my property damage recovery, unless a lawsuit is filed on my behalf for property damage related claims.
If there is no recovery on my behalf, M&Z does not receive a fee and M&Z will be responsible for any and all costs or expenses incurred.
Sally Smith | Date
Miller & Zois, LLC | Date
- Our medical malpractice contingency agreement reads slightly different.
- Do I Need a Lawyer? Not everyone needs a personal injury lawyer to handle their claim.
Why a Contingency Fee Agreement
Most people reading this page are lawyers looking to draft a sample contingency fee agreement. But victims are reading this page too because they want to see what a contingency fee agreement looks like and they want to know if a contingency fee is right for them.
The contingent fee paradigm almost invariably makes the most sense for victims because it decreased their risk. The arrangement gives plaintiffs in injury and wrongful death cases access to the quality of counsel you need to fight big corporations and insurance companies without taking on financial risk or expenses. It is cost prohibitive for all but the richest of us to pay $300 to $500 an hour financing protracted litigation. Contingency fee agreements where the lawyers front the cost and take on the risk of the fees and expenses are an end-run around that problem.
Contingent fee agreements are often beneficial because the client’s interests are more closely aligned to the attorney. The lawyer only gets paid if the client gets paid and the attorney is motivated to fight to secure every last penny.
One question injury victims often have is whether they can fire their contingency fee attorney. In Maryland, you absolutely can. The original attorney may have some claim for a fee (typically when the case resolves). As a practical matter, the battle over the fees is one between the new lawyer and the old lawyer and that battle usually takes place in a way where the client is not adversely impacted.
What is a Contingency Fee Agreement?
A contingency fee agreement is an agreement that makes it so that your attorney only receives payment if you receive monetary compensation in your case through either a jury award or a settlement.
What is the Standard set Fee Agreement for an Attorney in a Contingency Case?
There is no set contingency fee. Fees vary from lawyer to lawyer. The most common fee agreement is that the plaintiff’s law firm gets 33% of the recovery if there is a pre-lawsuit settlement and 40% if suit is filed. The contingency fee agreement lays out the fees and the terms of the attorney-client relationship. It explains how the lawyer’s fee are paid, who will work on the case, and how the expenses will be paid.
How are Expenses Handled in a Contingency Fee Agreement?
A contingency fee agreement lays out how the expenses in a case are paid. Few of the best law firms allow clients to front expenses in a case. Miller & Zois handles only contingency cases and fronts the expense for the clients in every single one of those cases.
How Should a Contingency Fee Agreement Should Read?
First, an contingency fee agreement should be short. Ours is one page long. A contingency fee agreement should first include language that describes the terms of the attorney-client relationship, which is known as a scope of representation clause. There should be an agreement of how the contingency fee is calculated upon settlement. There should also be a section how expenses associated with the case will be handled. It should be crystal clear – Miller & Zois makes it clear in bold print – that our firm will not receive a fee and will not be paid back by the client in any way for expenses if there is no recovery.
Contacting Miller and Zois
Our Maryland car accident and medical malpractice lawyers handle serious injury auto accident and medical malpractice cases. We handle only serious accident and wrongful death claims. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a car accident or by a doctor’s mistake, call us at
800-553-8082 or get a free consultation online.
More Information on Your Claim
- Other Sample Letters to Clients for Attorneys Setting Up a Case
- Personal Injury Victims Help Center (information for victims on how to proceed)
- Example of a Demand Letter to the Insurance Company (sample demand letter)
- How Long Will Your Settlement Take? (information on how long a settlement should take)
- Can I Fire My Lawyer? (information on when and how to terminate your lawyer if you are not pleased with the handling of your claim)
- Lawsuit Loans (information for victims and lawyers on cash advances on lawsuits)
- What Is the Value of My Personal Injury Case? (details of how claims are valued with references to how specific types of injuries are valued)