The contingency fee system allows a person of conventional means who has been injured due to the negligence of another to retain a highly qualified attorney, who the injured person might not be otherwise able to afford. This payment system permits an injured person to “even the playing field” against the deep pockets of those entities who are almost always paying for the negligent person’s defense.
Nearly all personal injury claims and workers’ compensation claims involve an insurance company paying for the defense. Pursuing an injury claim puts an injured person in opposition to that insurance company. Although a filed lawsuit will name the injured person vs. the negligent person on its face, the negligent person will virtually always have an insurance company paying for his defense.
Insurance companies have enormous resources, and are able to pay defense attorneys many hundreds of dollars an hour to defend a claim. Insurance companies regularly defend against legitimate claims for a variety of reasons. The average injured person does not ordinarily have the money or resources to pay upfront for a comparably talented attorney to competently protect the rights of the injured person. To even the odds against the insurance companies, comparably talented attorneys, who help injured people, work on a contingency fee basis.
Put simply, the contingency fee system means the attorney working on the case is not paid unless the attorney helps the injured person recover compensation. This payment system allows a person of conventional means to retain a talented personal injury attorney to handle his claim against a high dollar defense lawyer, working at the behest of an insurance company. Justice should be equally available to all, not limited to companies able to buy an advantage.
Insurance companies are generally the entities who are really paying the defense costs in a personal injury claim and a workers’ compensation claim. The contingency fee system allows an ordinary person, who has been injured due to the negligence of another, to balance the scales of justice, by enabling the injured person to hire a talented attorney who the injured person might not be able to otherwise afford.
Keep in mind, an insurance company also generally pays the settlement or award at trial on behalf of the negligent person.