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FAQ: Contingency Fee Agreements

Do I have to pay any money up front?

No.  You do not owe us any money when we take your case.  We advance all the costs for handling your personal injury case.  We only recover money if you recover money.  In that sense, there is zero financial risk. 

What is your fee?

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

  • You pay us 25% of your money judgment if we settle your case before filing a lawsuit
  • You pay us 33% of your money judgment after filing a lawsuit, regardless of whether we settle your case or 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. 

Do I have to pay your firm's out-of-pocket costs?

Yes, but only if we recover money for you.  Otherwise, you don't have to reimburse us for the money we spend preparing and investigating your case.      

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.  We have to spend more money after filing a lawsuit, especially when we are aggressively preparing for trial.  This happens when the insurance company will not make a reasonable settlement offer. 

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 also assume our firm's out-of-pocket costs were $2,500.  In this case, you would recover $65,000.

Here's the breakdown: 

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

I know a lot of attorneys use contingency fee agreements? Is yours different? 

Most contingency fee agreements in Washington are pretty similar.

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

First, we don't charge you more money for going to trial.

Many personal injury attorneys, for example, take a 33 percent fee if the case settles but charge 40 percent (or even higher) if the case goes to trial. 

We never charge more than a 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.

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

Case Review

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