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Contingency Fees in Bike Injury Cases Explained

Man signing a contingency fee agreement with his injured arm in a slingMany common bicycle accident injuries cause damage that extends beyond life on the road. A clavicle fracture can disrupt work and a brain injury can take months or longer to heal. That’s why when you hire an attorney to work on your case, you want peace of mind that they will work to get you the right amount of compensation.

Expertise is one part of that reassurance. At Bay Area Bicycle Law, our bicycle accident lawyers have that expertise, because we work on bicycle accident cases every day. Another piece — contingency fees — is a common practice at personal injury firms across the country.

You may have seen language describing these fees as “you don’t get paid until we do” or “free unless we win.” The idea is that the attorney is only paid if and when the client wins settlement money. These fee agreements are designed with the client in mind so that they get what they’re owed after a disruptive injury. Another perk is that these fees help make representation accessible, even to those with a very small budget.

Why attorneys utilize contingency fees

There are a variety of different fee agreements that a law firm might use. A flat rate or hourly rate are also common practices among law firms. Usually these rates are used in civil defense work, business law, or contracts.

At Bay Area Bicycle Law, like most personal injury firms, our attorneys are paid by contingency fees. The law firm keeps an agreed upon percentage of the final settlement or court award resulting from your injury.

California law requires a written contract between the attorney and client when contingency fees are used. This agreement specifies the fee and scope of work, to avoid misunderstandings. It should also specify how case costs, such as filing fees, will be paid. An attorney may require that these be paid out-of-pocket by the client. It is also common practice, however, for attorneys to advance case costs and be reimbursed for them out of a final settlement.

This fee agreement is beneficial for the client and attorney for many reasons.

For the client, it means that their payment is dependent on the success of the lawyer. A bigger compensation enables a bigger payment to the attorney.

This fee structure also means that there are no surprise fees. You know what to expect when you sign the agreement.

For attorneys, this fee agreement is a financial incentive to get more money for the client. This is in addition to attorneys’ ethical obligation to represent their client zealously. When the settlement number increases, so does the amount they are paid for their work. Attorneys are thus rewarded for getting their client more money.

Contingency fees and plaintiff opportunity

Every cyclist who is involved in an accident deserves the compensation they are owed to pay for medical care, noneconomic damages like loss of enjoyment of life and pain and suffering, and loss of income – no matter who they are or how much money they have in their bank account.

By paying their attorney through a contingency fee, no upfront attorney fees are required to be paid. This means that anybody from any walk of life has the ability to hire specialized representation to assist on complex cases where insurance companies are eager to pay out as little as possible to the injured parties.

If you’ve been hurt in a cycling accident, you can reach out to Bay Area Bicycle Law for a free consultation. You will be able to ask how the firm can assist you and your case, details of the contingency fee, potential compensation, and what next steps are required.

The ‘frivolous’ fallacy

The term “frivolous” is one that is used to refer to personal injury cases quite often, especially among politicians and critics who don’t understand the basics of personal injury law. But the contingency fee agreement model actually deters cases that don’t have any value.

This is another bonus for clients, attorneys, and society generally. Because attorneys paid on contingency only get paid if they win a case, they have financial incentive to only take on cases that have a good likelihood of winning. Likewise, clients know their case has merit when an attorney agrees to represent them.

It’s more likely that a person referring to a case as frivolous is being hyperbolic or deceptive. When an attorney’s paycheck is dependent on their success, they’re unlikely to take up cases that are actually frivolous. Doing so would run a high risk of doing a lot of work and then not getting paid in the end.

If you’re injured in a bicycle accident, you may have a right to compensation for many of the ways you are harmed by the accident. Bay Area Bicycle Law, P.C. has the right resources and expertise to help you get what you need to recover. To learn more, reach out for a free consultation today. Call 415-466-3104 for more information.