One of the true advantages to the plaintiff is that a contingent fee contract is a no-risk proposition for the plaintiff in that if no recovery is made they owe no fees and in most cases no costs to their attorneys. In addition, a contingent fee contract has often been described as the keys to the courthouse. In reality, only the most wealthy of plaintiffs could afford to pay a plaintiff’s attorney an hourly rate plus advance all costs to be expended in a case against a major corporation.
Another advantage of the contingent fee contract is that in cases where the injuries or damages are significant enough, very competent and reputable attorneys are willing to invest the time and money necessary to do a free evaluation of the case for their potential clients. Since most contingent fee attorneys will only proceed with a case they feel has merit, they should make the evaluation as timely as possible and in the event that they do not feel that they could represent the client they should inform the client of that fact in sufficient time that the client would have time to consult with another attorney or law firm. It is not uncommon that a case is turned down by one attorney or law firm and accepted and successfully handled by another firm.
Finally, one of the major advantages to plaintiffs is that the contingent fee system encourages the plaintiff’s attorneys to be efficient and to resolve the case as soon as possible. Since the attorney does not receive any fee nor any reimbursement of what may be significant costs advanced until the case is successfully concluded, the contingent fee encourages the attorney to work to settle the case as soon as possible. In contrast, most defense attorneys for large corporations and insurance companies are paid on an hourly basis. Obviously, there is no great incentive for these attorneys to conclude the case in an expeditious manner and hourly fee arrangements can encourage delay, inefficiency and unnecessary legal tactics.