Finding the right attorney may feel like a daunting task. It does not have to be.
Are you looking for an employment attorney working on contingency?
This guide will give you comprehensive information to help you decide your legal representation when dealing with an employee rights violation.
Many people will use lawyers working on contingency to reduce risk and stress. Legal issues in the workplace can affect multiple areas of someone’s life and create a lot of stress. Working with a lawyer on contingency can be more appealing to many people and has several distinct benefits.
What is a Contingency Fee?
A contingency is a fee that is only required to be paid if the legal case being represented is won.
When you bring your case to an employment attorney working on contingency, you do not have to have funds on hand to pay for legal services. This arrangement increases access to legal services and is a significant relief for many people dealing with employment law violations such as discrimination, sexual harassment, unpaid overtime, retaliation, or other violations in the workplace.
If the case is lost, the individual or individuals who brought the case to the lawyer would not have to pay a contingency fee. This is unlike criminal defense attorneys, family law attorneys, or other areas of the law where individuals can end up with substantial bills after the case is over. In addition, a contingency lawyer will not send you invoices for their fees after the case is over if the case is lost.
Contingency fees are usually calculated as a percentage rather than a flat rate to account for the unpredictability of future legal outcomes. For example, if a case of discrimination against an employee was proven and a juddgment of $200,000 was awarded, the contingency lawyer would receive a certain percentage of the total amount.
Lawyers who work on contingency do not make an agreement of what their specific total charges will be upfront because they will not know what they will be until the case is resolved. This process is an inherent component of working with a contingency fee lawyer.
What is the Standard Contingency Fee for an Attorney?
When considering working with an attorney on a contingent fee basis, one of the first questions people ask is, “How much do contingency lawyers charge?’
Know that there are some basic standards so you can understand what to expect.
The standard contingency fee for an attorney is 33-45%. However, these fees can be substantially lower if the case is enormous. An example: if there is an extensive multi-million dollar class action lawsuit against a national company involving many employees where the employer had a practice of not providing proper disclosure and authorization before conducting a background check.
Each case is different and comes with its complexities. For example, extensive cases may include a variety of employee rights violations. This is a primary reason there is a range for contingency fees rather than a flat percentage rate across the board.
When the agreement is being composed with an employment attorney working on contingency, the documentation will include details relevant to the contingency rate, how expenses are calculated, policies, and other necessary information.
For clarity, contingency fees can depend heavily on the case itself and the inherent level of risk for the attorney.
What Legal Cases are Eligible for Contingency Fee Arrangements?
A contingency fee arrangement differs from contracts for other legal needs, such as fee contracts used in divorce, criminal, and child custody cases. Only specific segments of the law allow attorney contingency fees.
Legal cases that are eligible include segments of the law such as personal injuries, FCRA violations (such as robocalls), employment law, and debt collection. The types of damages in these cases can include:
- Punitive damages – punish the defendant for lack of care for others.
- Non-economic damages – such as pain and suffering.
- Economic damages – including medical bills and lost wages
- Compensatory damages – a combination of non-economic and monetary damages
The amount of the damages will depend on the circumstances of the case. For example, economic damages such as lost wages are common in wage and hour disputes. In addition, compensatory damages could be awarded in various cases, including discrimination and retaliation in the workplace. Your contingency lawyer will discuss the possibilities of damages for your particular situation.
In addition to divorce, criminal and child custody cases, adoption, bankruptcy, and immigration cases are not eligible for contingency fee arrangements. State laws and courts will prohibit the use of contingency lawyers for these types of cases as a matter of public policy.
Benefits of Contingency Fees
There are multiple benefits of contingency fees and working with lawyers who get paid when you win.
One of the most significant benefits is that contingency fees can shift the risk from the individual to the attorney. For example, an individual may be concerned about starting a case to fight for their rights because they worry about the potentially high costs. But contingency fees can help individuals ensure they won’t have to spend excessive money on a case that eventually ends up failing.
Another benefit is that contingency fees allow employees to feel more confident bringing cases against large companies. Those cases can take a lot of resources to fight —but they can also be very rewarding. Legal action against large companies can involve a lot of research, communications, interviews, negotiations, documentation, and strategy, and it often takes the time and expertise of multiple lawyers. This action would be challenging if you did not have employment attorneys working on contingency.
Additionally, contingency fee arrangements can also have personal benefits. For example, it takes time to get through the legal process of an employee rights case. As a result, people are often stressed and anxious and may lose sleep thinking about the case. When you do not have to worry about extensive lawyer’s fees if you lose, working with contingency lawyers can help with stress reduction and make you feel more relaxed and less anxious overall, particularly during a lengthy legal process.
Are Contingency Fee Legal Cases Truly Less Risky?
Risk management is a massive part of contingency fee legal cases. This risk management is how the best contingency lawyers help people win cases.
Contingency fee cases can be less risky to individuals that do not feel confident that they have the money to fight their employer or even large businesses in court. Most employers have their lawyers, and larger enterprises typically have teams of lawyers. To effectively hold them accountable for employment law violations, you need your lawyer or legal team on your side. Attorneys who work on contingency fees take on that risk for you, so you do not need to have much money to fight them.
Also, contingency fees are often used in complicated legal situations where an attorney will need to invest a significant amount of time. This is particularly true if employee rights violations occurred over an extended time and targeted multiple workers. Examples of types of these cases can include nationwide TCPA cases involving robocalls, class action lawsuits challenging employers’ COBRA notices, or even instances of individual employment law violations that are very complex.
Because attorneys shoulder the risk in a contingency fee arrangement, these arrangements are less risky to individuals.
Keeping a focus on risk management, attorneys work hard in contingency fee arrangements to lower personal risk by only accepting the most promising cases. They will review the details of what happened and any current evidence, analyze if other potential evidence may be included in the case, and consider additional relevant information, including any witnesses, to decide whether to move forward. This process is another reason to be confident with a contingency lawyer.
What Happens if you Lose a Contingency Case?
When you decide to take legal action, it is normal to fear losing a case. Several cases that are not on contingency can be a tremendous financial burden depending on your financial circumstances.
Many cases that are brought against companies that are on a contingency basis are won. As mentioned above, the lawyers will consider the case’s merits before proceeding.
You do not have to pay a contingency fee if you lose a contingency case.
However, there are some circumstances in which court filing fees, expert witness costs, or discovery costs may be paid by the individual bringing the lawsuit in the case of a loss. These are legal costs separate from the primary work that your lawyer would do in bringing your case to a resolution. They may or may not apply to your particular case. These charges are negligible compared to the total cost in an employee rights violation case.
When you consult with an employment attorney working on contingency, they will address any concerns regarding contingency fees or negligible costs.
Finding a Contingency Fee Lawyer in Florida
When illegal actions have been taken against you by your employer, you have a right to fight back — no matter your financial status.
Contingency fee arrangements can be a better option in hiring an attorney when people want to be more confident in their case, reduce stress during the legal process, or fight against businesses with deep pockets.
Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A. works on a contingency basis and helps employees across the state get justice when their rights have been violated. We provide services across comprehensive employment law needs:
- Hostile Work Environment
- Wrongful Termination
- Wage and Hour Disputes
- Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) Claims
- Government Investigations — including whistleblowing and EEOC charges
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) — filing and mediation
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Claims
- Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) Claims
No one should suffer workplace violations, such as discrimination, sexual harassment, a hostile work environment, or unpaid wages. When this happens, it can affect multiple areas of your life and your family. Our attorneys are aggressive and know how to stand up to employers that harass, discriminate, or take other actions that violate your rights. You deserve justice.
Our employment attorneys working on contingency work in offices across the state for your convenience, including:
We are the employee’s law firm. As your lawyer, we will do everything we can to help you secure the justice you deserve.
Contact the law offices of Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., to schedule a free consultation. Call 813-224-0431 today.
Please Note: At the time this article was written, the information contained within it was current based on the prevailing law at the time. Laws and precedents are subject to change, so this information may not be up to date. Always speak with a law firm regarding any legal situation to get the most current information available.