Will I owe contingency fees to my attorney if I decide to stop my personal injury case? 31 Answers as of March 04, 2011

If I have a contingency plan with an attorney and I decided before the deposition that I no longer want to pursue this case, do I owe the attorney any fees?

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David Hoines Law
David Hoines Law | David Hoines
Depends on your agreement with your attorney usually not tell him now and discuss.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 3/4/2011
Mukerjee Law Group
Mukerjee Law Group | Sisy A. Mukerjee
Depends on the type of contingency contract. Every contingency fee contract is written differently. If you have further questions, I would call the FL Bar Hotline, and they can assist you.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 3/4/2011
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
Depends on the contract with your attorney. You could also be liable for expenses incurred.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/3/2011
Wilson & Hajek, LLC
Wilson & Hajek, LLC | Eddie W. Wilson
Yes. His time spent on your case and any costs incurred.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 3/3/2011
Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates
Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates | Lyle B. Masnikoff
No you will not.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 3/3/2011
    Ron Graham Attorney at Law
    Ron Graham Attorney at Law | Ron Graham
    Not if the case is not settled, but you may owe them expenses.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    Contingency fees should only apply to settlement amounts. If you don't settle with the defendant, and instead simply drop your case, you won't owe "contingency" fees. However you may owe other fees. It will depend on your contract with your attorney.

    Most contracts state that you are responsible for all the costs - i.e. the attorney fronts the costs, but you have to pay him back out of your settlement. If you drop the case, you may have to reimburse him for the costs. Other contracts say that if you abandon your case you must pay your attorney his/her hourly rate for the time they have spent on the case.

    Point being, review your contract.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    Check your retainer agreement. Good luck
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    David B. Sacks, P.A.
    David B. Sacks, P.A. | David Sacks
    That would depend on the contract.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 3/2/2011
    Allegretti & Associates
    Allegretti & Associates | James L. Allegretti
    You could owe for the work done by the attorney to date. Look at your contract and talk to your attorney. Usually if there is good reason on a small case there is no problem.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    Not if you want to drop it entirely. If you dismiss your lawyer, and then decide to continue it on your own, you will owe him fees. Read your contract with the lawyer and see if it says otherwise.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    That depends on what the contingency fee agreement says. In most cases, the fee agreement says that if you terminate representation, the attorney will paid for the reasonable value of his services up until the date of termination of representation, or 1/3 of any settlement offers that the other side has made. Clearly, if you terminate the lawyer and pursue the action on your own, or with another attorney, he is entitled to be paid. Terminating the case may not be the same as terminating representation. It could be considered the same as if lost the case, in which case the attorney would be entitled to nothing. If I were the attorney, and the case is one where inability is clear, and it is just a question of the amount of damage, I might argue that terminating the case is the same as terminating representation. Also, even if the attorney is not entitled to a fee, the attorney has incurred some costs (unless you paid costs) including the filing fee and the cost of depositions. The attorney would probably be entitled to have his costs returned.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    If you have a contingent fee written contract, probably not. But you must read your contract. Some contracts say if you terminate the deal the lawyer is entitled to be paid for his time. Not all do, so read your contract. If you don't have a copy ask the lawyer to send you one. He will. He must.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney | Patrick M Lamar
    Generally no. However, you need to review the contract your attorney had you sign. You could be on the line for expenses. If you have trouble contact the fee dispute section of the Alabama State Bar they will be happy to help.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Raheen Law Group, P.C.
    Raheen Law Group, P.C. | Wali Raheen
    It depends what your agreement says.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    The Law Offices of Jason Chan
    The Law Offices of Jason Chan | Jason Chan
    Depends on the fee agreement you have with your attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    Normally no. Have you received an offer in your case? You may owe costs though.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O.
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O. | Eric R. Chandler
    It depends on the fee agreement; typically no, however you are likely responsible for costs that have been incurred. The attorney can also place an attorney's lien on your claim should you decide to hire another lawyer or pursue the action on your own.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
    You should work out a deal with your attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Cary J. Wintroub & Associates
    Cary J. Wintroub & Associates | Sheldon J. Aberman
    It depends on the language of the agreement that you signed with your lawyer. You may be contractually obligated to reimburse your attorney for the costs/expenses that he/she advanced on your behalf or for the time that he/she invested in your case.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    I guess it depends on why you want to stop. If you are just quitting, that is different than if you are trying to settle directly with the defendant or insurer. There is always the issue of costs expended to date as well. Contact me if you would like to discuss.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    You would have to read the fee agreement you should have signed before he or she started the case. Usually the client has the right to terminate the case at any time. You cannot settle around the attorney though. If you are seriously thinking about dropping the case before your deposition, you should discuss that fact with your attorney. He can probably continue the deposition and could then see if he can obtain any settlement, no matter how small, as something is better than nothing. Also, if you just dismiss your case, you leave yourself (and the attorney) open to a lawsuit for malicious prosecution, and you also allow the other side to file a cost bill, which becomes a judgment against you. The cost bill would include their filing fees, deposition costs, subpoena and witness fees, etc. Moreover, if there is a statute involved that allows for attorneys fees, they could make a motion to have an award of fees in their favor. So you would NEVER just want to dismiss a case without at least getting a waiver of costs and fees (if applicable) from the other side.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Jackson White, PC
    Jackson White, PC | Jared Everton
    It depends on the contract you signed. If the contract provides that you will owe money upon termination of the law firm, the law firm will simply notify your new attorney of their lien and when your new attorney settles the claim he/she will contact your previous law firm and resolve the lien prior to disbursing funds to you.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    That would depend on what the written agreement you have with your attorney says, but you probably would not owe anything. However, I would encourage you to keep the case going and do the deposition.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Ciccarelli Law Offices
    Ciccarelli Law Offices | Lee Ciccarelli
    Thank you for your inquiry. I suggest you review the terms of your written contingency fee. The fee may have provisions that require you to reimburse your attorney for litigation costs or it may have a separation agreement that makes you responsible for the quantum meruit or value of his services. This latter provision is often invoked by an attorney who has worked on the case, only to lose the case to another attorney. Contact me if you would like to discuss this matter in greater detail.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    LT Pepper Law
    LT Pepper Law | Luke T. Pepper
    It depends on the contingency fee contract and whether it specifies that the attorney be paid if you stop the proceedings. There are instances where he can be paid for his time.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Shaw Law Firm
    Shaw Law Firm | Steven L. Shaw
    This is a fairly complex question and based on both the contract you signed and the Rules of Professional Conduct in the state where you entered into the contract, as well as applicable case law.

    Read through the contract you signed when you hired the attorney. It will have a provision in it that speaks to terminating the agreement. In most cases (and this may not be yours), if a client fires the attorney, the attorney can make a claim for the time put in on the case, and any costs the attorney has advanced on the client's behalf.

    I would highly suggest having a meeting with your attorney about what your concerns are to see if there is something that can be done to address them.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 3/3/2011
    Premier Law Group
    Premier Law Group | Jason Epstein
    Probably, but you would need to check the fee agreement that you signed to see what it says.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 3/3/2011
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