How Do Contingency Fee Agreements Work in Birth Injury Cases?

In most legal cases, lawyers receive some form of payment for their services. However, in a contingency fee agreement, the lawyer’s payment depends (i.e. is “contingent”) upon the case being successful. In other words, lawyers are only paid when they get settlements or verdicts for their clients. If they do not obtain compensation for their clients, they do not charge clients for any costs incurred .

Contingency fee agreements are common in birth injury cases, as well as other types of medical malpractice and personal injury lawsuits (1). 

How much is the contingency fee? 

The amount of the contingency fee varies by state.  Other factors that may be considered include: 

  • Complexity of the case and the likelihood of success: If a lawyer thinks that the process of obtaining a settlement or verdict will be fairly straightforward, they may have a lower contingency fee than if they anticipate a complex and challenging case. 
  • Litigation costs: In the legal world, there is a distinction between a lawyer’s fees and litigation costs. The former is paid to the lawyer, while the latter includes things like:
    • Fees to file in court
    • Hiring a court reporter
    • Paying expert witnesses to review the case and testify
    • Ordering copies of medical records and other relevant documents
    • Miscellaneous costs, like copying and postage (2)
  •  The stage at which the case is resolved: In some contingency fee agreements, the lawyer will collect a smaller percentage of the recovery if the case settles prior to trial (3). 

Does a contingency fee agreement really mean I pay nothing unless we win?

Some firms charge clients for litigation costs regardless of whether they win or lose. In other words, you may not have to pay your attorney if you lose, but the cost of pursuing a case could still be pretty high. However, at ABC Law Centers (Reiter & Walsh, P.C.), we absorb all litigation costs for our birth injury clients unless the case is successful. In other words, we guarantee that you do not lose money by pursuing a birth injury case with us.

If we are successful in securing recovery (i.e. a settlement or verdict), then the litigation costs are subtracted from the final amount that actually goes to the client. This process varies by state, so please contact us for more specific information about how this would work if you pursued a case with us.   

How much money will our family get if we win?

Each case varies depending on the nature of the child’s injuries, the state in which the birth occurred, and other factors. However, you can browse our case results page to look at some of our former verdicts and settlements. Please note that some attorney sites report very high numbers that do not account for the contingency fee and litigation costs, i.e. don’t reflect the amount that actually goes to the family. We aim to be as transparent as possible, so we publish both the total amount of each settlement/verdict and the part that goes directly to the family. Visit this page for more information on how we calculate these amounts.

About ABC Law Centers

Image of our three firm partners

Pictured: Euel Kinsey (Left), Jesse Reiter (Middle), Rebecca Walsh (Right)

ABC Law Centers was established to focus exclusively on birth injury cases. A “birth injury” is any type of harm to a baby that occurs just before, during, or after birth. This includes issues such as oxygen deprivation, infection, and trauma. While some children with birth injuries make a complete recovery, others develop disabilities such as cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

If a birth injury/subsequent disability could have been prevented with proper care, then it constitutes medical malpractice. Settlements from birth injury cases can cover the costs of lifelong treatment, care, and other crucial resources. 

If you believe you may have a birth injury case for your child, please contact us today to learn more. We are happy to talk to you free of any obligation or charge. In fact, clients pay nothing throughout the entire legal process unless we win. 

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Sources

  1. (n.d.). When You Need a Lawyer. Retrieved from https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_issues_for_consumers/lawyerfees_contingent/ 
  2. Lee, C. (2017, October 26). What is a Contingency Fee? Retrieved from https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-is-a-contingency-fee.html 
  3. (n.d.). When You Need a Lawyer. Retrieved from https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_issues_for_consumers/lawyerfees_contingentagree/ 

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