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FAQ: Contingency Fee Agreements

What is your fee?

Here is our typical fee structure for a personal injury case:  

  • You pay us 25% of your financial recovery if we can settle your case before filing a lawsuit
  • You pay us 33% if we settle your case after filing a lawsuit or if we win your case after trial

We also recover our out-of-pocket "costs" that we have spent handling your case, but only if you recover money. 

What are typical costs in a personal injury case? 

Typical costs include the following;

  • Obtaining your medical records
  • Travel costs and mileage expenses
  • Paying a process server to serve the defendant if we have to file a lawsuit 
  • Court filing fees
  • Court reporter fees for taking depositions and ordering copies of transcripts 
  • Hiring accident reconstruction experts, wage experts, and vocational specialists

We typically spend very little money before a lawsuit is filed. Costs increase significantly when we are aggressively preparing for trial, when the insurance company will not make a reasonable settlement offer. 

Do I owe any money up front?

No. We do not charge a fee and our firm advances all the costs for handling your personal injury case. We only recover money if you recover money. There is zero financial risk. 

How much will I actually recover if I win my case?

Here's how our contingency fee agreement works in practice.

Suppose we settle your personal injury case for $100,000 after filing a lawsuit. Let's assume our firm spent $2,500 before the case settled.

  • Gross judgment: $100,000
  • Firm costs: $2,500
  • Net judgment $97,500 ($100,000 - $2,500)
  • Zuanich Law contingency fee: 33 percent (because we filed a lawsuit) (see above)
  • Zuanich Law fee: $32,500 (33% of $97,500)
  • Your recovery: $65,000 (97,500 - $32,500

Are there benefits to your firm's contingency fee agreement?

Most contingency fee agreements in Washington are pretty similar--the law requires it.  

But we structure our agreement differently in two ways that benefit you. Here's how: 

  • First, we don't recover more money if your case goes to trial. Many attorneys, for example, charge a 40 percent contingency fee for taking your case to trial, and some charge as much as 45 percent.

We never charge you more than 33 percent regardless of whether your case settles or goes to trial. 

  • Second, we only charge 25 percent if we can settle your case before trial. Many lawyers charge 33 percent regardless of when the case settles. If we do less work, we should get less money. 

What are my rights under a contingency fee agreement?

You have the following legal rights under our contingency fee agreement

  • We will return you phone calls, emails, and text messages within 24 hours
  • We will regularly update you on the status of your case
  • You have the right to fire us at any time if you are not satisfied with our services
  • We will never make any settlement offer or accept any settlement offer from the insurance company without your approval

What are my legal obligations?

We want to make your experience with us as stress-free as possible. That's not always possible, of course, but we try to limit your obligations as much as possible. 

For this reason, we only require three main things from you:

  • Let us know when you change your contact information (phone number, email, address)
  • Sign medical releases and other work releases so we can gather the documents necessary to put together the strongest possible case
  • Respond to periodic requests for information about the case--usually, we ask clients to fill out a comprehensive questionnaire at the beginning of the case. The more information we have up front, the less we need to get from you later. 

I don't understand something in your agreement. What do I do? 

Please call us anytime. We try to make our contingency fee agreements as clear as possible, but we can't avoid using some legal terms that you may find confusing. We're available 24/7 to answer your questions.

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2200 6th Avenue
Suite 806

Seattle, WA 98121
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