conditional fee agreement

Facing a personal injury claim can bring worries about the cost of legal fees. Thankfully, a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) provides a way for claimants to seek justice without the stress of upfront legal costs.

 

This blog will explain what a CFA is, how it works, and the benefits it offers for personal injury claimants.

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What is a Conditional Fee Agreement in California?

A CFA, commonly known as a “no win, no fee”  or contingency fee agreement, is made between a lawyer and their client in which the lawyer only gets paid if the claim is successful or the client wins the lawsuit.

 

This fee arrangement is particularly beneficial in claiming personal injury compensation, where clients might not have the financial resources to pay for legal services upfront.

 

In California, CFAs are a common practice in personal injury cases. According to the California Business and Professions Code Section 6147, a CFA must be in writing and must include specific information such as the contingency fee rate and how disbursements and costs will be handled.

Success Fee Agreement and Other CFA-Related
Terms To Know

  • Contingency Fee: A fee that is only payable if the case is won, typically a percentage of the settlement or judgment.
  • Success Fee: An additional fee that may be charged on top of the contingency fee if the case is particularly complex or has a high risk.
  • Disbursements: Out-of-pocket legal expenses incurred by the lawyer during the case, such as court fees, expert witness fees, and medical record costs.
  • Retainer: An upfront fee paid to a lawyer to secure their services, not typically applicable in CFAs.

Other Fees Clients Might Face

While CFAs cover the lawyer’s fees contingent upon winning, clients may still encounter other expenses, including:

  • Court Costs: Fees for filing documents and other court-related charges.
  • Expert Witness Fees: Costs associated with hiring experts to testify or provide specialized knowledge for the case.
  • Administrative Fees: Charges for copying, postage, and other administrative tasks.

It’s important to discuss all potential expenses with your accident lawyer upfront to avoid any surprises during the legal process.

What Does a Conditional Fee Agreement Contain?

A well-drafted CFA should include several key details to ensure clarity and fairness for both parties. These details typically encompass:

  • Fee Structure: The percentage of the settlement or judgment that will be taken as the lawyer’s fee, including any success fee.
  • Costs and Disbursements: How out-of-pocket expenses will be handled, whether they will be deducted from the settlement or paid separately by the client.
  • Scope of Work: A clear outline of the services the lawyer will provide under the agreement.
  • Termination Clause: Conditions under which either party can terminate the agreement.

Types of Accident Cases That May Be Funded by a CFA

types of accident cases that may be funded by a cfa

CFAs are particularly useful in various types of personal injury cases in California, including but not limited to:

  • Car Accidents: Whether it’s a fender bender on a busy Los Angeles freeway or a serious collision in rural areas, CFAs are commonly used to fund legal actions related to car accidents.
  • Slip and Fall: Cases where individuals are injured due to unsafe conditions on someone else’s property, such as a wet floor in a San Francisco grocery store.
  • Medical Malpractice: Legal claims against healthcare providers in California for injuries caused by negligence or substandard care.
  • Workplace Injuries: Incidents where employees are injured on the job in California, due to unsafe working conditions or employer negligence.
  • Product Liability: Cases involving injuries caused by defective or dangerous products sold in California.

Eligibility for a Conditional Fee Agreement

Most individuals pursuing personal injury claims in California are eligible for CFAs, but specific criteria can vary by lawyer or firm.

 

Generally, eligibility depends on the merits of the case and the likelihood of winning. Lawyers will assess the strength of the evidence, potential compensation amount, and the defendant’s ability to pay before agreeing to a CFA.

Wrap Up: 5 Things to Remember About Success
Fee Agreements

Payment is Contingent on Winning

The core feature of a CFA is that you only pay your lawyer if you win the case. This means the lawyer’s fee is typically a percentage of the settlement or judgment awarded. This arrangement makes it financially feasible for individuals who might otherwise be unable to afford legal representation to pursue their claims.

Other Costs May Apply

While the lawyer’s fees are contingent upon winning, other costs may still apply regardless of the outcome. These can include court fees, expert witness fees, and administrative costs. It’s important to clarify with your lawyer which expenses will be your responsibility and how they will be handled in your CFA.

Clear Terms and Conditions

A well-structured success fee agreement should outline all the terms and conditions clearly. This includes the lawyer’s percentage fee, how disbursements will be managed, and any other potential costs. Make sure to thoroughly review and understand these details before signing the agreement to avoid any surprises later on.

Applicable to Various Case Types

CFAs are commonly used in various personal injury cases, such as car accidents, slip and fall incidents, medical malpractice, workplace injuries, and product liability cases. These agreements make it possible for victims of different types of accidents to seek compensation without the immediate worry of legal fees.

Having an experienced California personal injury lawyer by your side can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Lawyers with a successful track record in similar cases can provide valuable legal advice, negotiate with insurance companies, and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the compensation claim process.

If you’re considering a personal injury claim and want to explore your options under a Conditional Fee Agreement, the personal injury lawyers at RTM Law Firm are here to help.

 

With our expertise and commitment to securing the best possible outcomes for our clients, we can guide you through the process and ensure you receive the money that is due you.

 

Do not worry about fees. Just focus on your recovery, and we’ll take care of the rest.

 

Call us for a free consultation.

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