When asked, how much does a wrongful death attorney charge, the answer is not really that simple.
The majority of wrongful death and other personal injury cases are billed on what is referred to as a “contingency fee” basis.
This system of payment allows the injured party to hire an attorney without having to pay the cost of legal fees up front.
Based on this system, the client does not pay anything initially. If the lawsuit is resolved successfully, then the attorney would generally be entitled to a percentage of the monetary award, plus expenses.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wrongful Death Attorney Fees
Below, our experienced Arkansas wrongful death lawyers answer common questions about the attorney fees for wrongful death attorneys.
What is a Wrongful Death Contingency Fee Agreement?
A contingency fee agreement refers to a payment arrangement where the client does not have to pay any fees up front. Instead, the client agrees to pay the wrongful death attorney a percentage of the client’s award, should they win the case. The rules governing the practice of law in your state will most likely determine what percentage is appropriate in a contingency fee agreement.
What is the Purpose of Contingency Fees?
The basic purpose of the contingency fee arrangement is to allow the client to pay little or no upfront costs, and ultimately to pay nothing unless the wrongful death case is won. At that point, the attorney receives a specified percentage of the recovery as a fee. If the case is lost and there is no recovery, the attorney does not receive a legal fee.
When are Contingency Fee Agreements Used?
Contingency fee agreements are normally used in cases where a plaintiff is seeking money damages for an injury. Depending on the nature of the case and the damages being claimed, attorneys may not always accept a contingency fee arrangement.
Some legal claims have limits on how much a plaintiff can recover in damages, in which case an attorney may not be willing to work on a contingency fee basis. Typically, though, wrongful death cases are handled on a contingency fee basis.
What to Expect with a Wrongful Death Contingency Fee Agreement
After a contingency fee agreement has been reached, the wrongful death attorney pays all of the expenses associated with the lawsuit. These expenses can include filing fees, payment of depositions, and copies of medical records. In many cases, expert witnesses are required to testify, which is another expense that the attorney will pay up front.
If the attorney is successful in resolving the case for the client, the written contingency contract will control how the funds are ultimately dispersed. Some contingency fee agreements operate under a graduated percentage contract. Some contingency fee contracts provide for expenses plus a percentage of the recovery.