Litigation is expensive and time consuming. Those who have been injured by the negligence of another, while on the job, or simply are disabled, often cannot afford to hire an attorney on an hourly basis. The contingency fee agreement, in the words of a recent court decision, provides “access to counsel for individuals who would otherwise have difficulty obtaining representation”. As early as 1823, one state court noted that without the contingency fee, an injured person might never be able to “sue for his right, not having otherwise the means to employ counsel”.
Kennedy, Kennedy, Robbins & Yarbro, LC, uses contingency fees in personal injury, medical malpractice, wrongful death, workers compensation and social security disability cases. We do not use a contingency fee agreement in all cases that involve criminal defense or family law, as a contingency fee is barred by Missouri law for these matters. The contingency fee agreement is in writing and signed by the client and the firm.
Under a contingency fee agreement, no advanced lump sum fee is paid to the attorney and no hourly charges are billed to the client on a monthly basis. Simply stated, a contingency fee is entirely dependent upon the lawyer achieving a successful outcome through settlement or trial. The amount of the fee (percentage of the recovery) will depend on the type of case, its complexity and its anticipated value. The amount of the fee is agreed upon when the written agreement is signed.
Missouri court rules state that the legal expenses involved in a lawsuit are the client’s responsibility. However, many time, clients are unable to fully pay for the expenses necessary to pursue their lawsuit. Kennedy, Kennedy, Robbins & Yarbro, LC, usually tries to advance these costs on behalf of our clients, which will be reimbursed in addition to the contingency fee when a settlement or verdict is obtained. We may ask for assistance in paying for these expenses as the case progresses. Expenses can include such items as medical record fees, expert witness fees, court filing fees, deposition costs, mileage and travel expenses. These expenses vary from case to case and may be several hundred dollars or tens of thousands of dollars, depending upon the complexity and duration of the lawsuit. If we do not recover any funds on your behalf, at our option, we may ask for these expenses to be reimbursed.
If you have additional questions on how a contingency fee agreement might operate in your case, please contact Kennedy, Kennedy, Robbins & Yarbro, LC, at (573) 686-2459. Our commitment is to earn your confidence by answering all questions and providing quality representation. If you need to contact one of our lawyers about another legal need, we may also be reached here.