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What Is A Contingency Fee Agreement?

In personal injury cases, it is often advertised that the client does not pay unless the lawyer wins. That is called a contingency fee. The attorney only gets paid if the client receives an award of money damages.

Contingency fee agreements can be different from law firm to the law firm and from case to case, but they usually have some or all of these things in common:  The client does not pay the attorney an hourly fee.

  •  The attorney takes a percentage of the client’s award of financial damages.
  •  In Montana, the most common contingency fee is 33 percent or one-third of the award.
  • The attorney’s fee can be anywhere from 15 to 50 percent.
  • Contingency fee agreements must always be made in writing.

Such fee agreements can contain a host of other provisions, including one that requires the client to pay for certain up-front costs that may be incurred such as court fees, mediation fees, and copying fees. Each contingency fee agreement is unique to the case. It is important that the client read and understand the entire agreement before he or she signs the agreement.

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