The contingent fee is a deal that a lawyer or law firm makes with the personal injury or wrongful death client to take all of the financial risk and burden of prosecuting a case or looking at a claim or investigating a claim in the first instance off of the client and onto the lawyer or law firm. Most folks in this country could not possibly afford – certainly the ones who come to my office could not possibly afford to pay a lawyer as they go on an hourly basis and to cover the costs that it takes to successfully prosecute a claim for a case. But the contingent fee allows them to hire a really good lawyer on a percentage basis and know that they aren’t putting their family and their livelihood and their savings at financial risk because they don’t owe anything unless and until the lawyer is successful for them at the end of the case in getting either a settlement or a verdict at trial. It’s then and only then that their burden to pay the lawyer triggers and they pay a percentage of what the amount of the settlement or the verdict is. Usually that percentage is a third, but in difficult cases like medical malpractice cases or product liability cases it can be 38 or 40 percent. Sometimes it’s less than that if the case seems simpler. It’s a matter to be discussed between the lawyer and the client, but the contingent fee allows these clients to know that they are not risking their financial future by hiring a good lawyer to look into their case for them.