What is a “Contingent Fee”?

What is a “Contingent Fee”?

You’ve probably seen commercials on TV or billboards on the side of the road with a personal injury lawyer exclaiming something to the effect of: “You pay nothing unless I recover damages for you” or “If we don’t get you compensation, our services are free.”

What that lawyer is referring to is a contingent fee arrangement. Working on a contingent fee basis is how almost all personal injury attorneys provide representation to injury victims.


As the name implies, whether you have to pay any attorney’s fees to your lawyer under such an arrangement is “contingent” on your attorney recovering compensation for your injury. No money in your pocket means no money owed to your attorney for his or her work.

Your Attorney Bears the Costs and Risks

Under a contingency fee arrangement, your attorney is bearing the costs and the risks involved in pursuing compensation for you. He or she will work potentially hundreds or thousands of hours, as well as go out of pocket for expenses, with no guarantee of ever seeing a dime of compensation for all of that work or reimbursement for any amounts they pay in expenses.

If, however, your attorney does obtain compensation for you, either through settlement or after a trial, he or she will take an agreed-upon percentage of the recovery as their fee, and will also pay any incurred expenses out of the recovery.

Contingent Fee Agreements

The percentage can vary depending on how the compensation is obtained; lower for amounts obtained in a settlement and higher for compensation received after the time and expense incurred going all the way through a trial.

Whatever the arrangement, it needs to be reflected in a written contingent fee agreement signed by you and your lawyer at the outset of his or her representation of you in your personal injury case.

Without contingent fee arrangements, the vast majority of all injury victims would have no way to seek justice and recover damages for their injuries. By not having to go out of pocket to pay for a lawyer, those who have been injured by the negligence of others have the means to get the compensation they need.

At Greening Law, P.C., we provide aggressive, compassionate and experienced representation for personal injury victims in Dallas and throughout Texas. Please give us a call at (972) 934-8900 or fill out our online form to arrange for your free initial consultation.