Life and Disability Insurance Legal Fees: Contingency vs. Fee For Service

One of the first questions you likely want answered before deciding how to proceed is: How am I going to pay for legal services?

In my practice, I offer my clients the option of entering into a contingency agreement or a fee-for-service agreement.

Contingency Agreement – This arrangement provides that I will only get paid if I recover insurance proceeds on your behalf, either by way of a settlement or at trial. If I recover nothing, I do not get paid. My fee is based on a percentage of the amount recovered. Your only financial obligation to me in the case of a contingency agreement is to pay for my out-of-pocket expenses. For example, there is a fee payable at the court registry for filing a statement of claim. The claim must then be served on your insurer, and there is a cost paid to a process server to serve the claim. There might also be a scenario where we need to order medical reports or files from your treating physicians. Likewise, your insurer will likely charge for the reproduction costs of your claims file. All of these are considered out-of-pocket expenses and will be your responsibility to pay.

Fee for Service – This arrangement provides that I will be paid an hourly rate which is not in any way dependent on the outcome of the claim. In other words, you will be required to pay me for every hour of my time, regardless of whether I am able to recover any funds. Like a contingency agreement, you will also be responsible for the payment of all out-of-pocket expenses.

If a lawsuit proceeds to trial, the successful party is normally awarded costs by the court, calculated based on a tariff contained in the court rules and unrelated to the actual legal fees of the lawyers. Whether you enter into a contingency agreement or a fee-for-service agreement, if your lawsuit proceeds to trial and you are unsuccessful, you might be ordered to pay the other party’s tariff costs.

If I can leave you with this final thought: It is natural for you to want an immediate answer about the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Unfortunately, this is difficult for any lawyer to do without collecting all of the facts and reviewing your claim file. During my initial discussion with you, I hope to cover a lot of ground and answer as many of your questions as I can. I will not pretend to have all of the answers at that time, however, should you like to proceed to the next step, I will do what is necessary so that you can make an informed decision as to how you would like to proceed.

If you would like to learn more about your claim, please connect with me by filling out the form. We can then arrange a call, video conference or in-person meeting so that we can discuss your case, your expectations and your preferred fee arrangement.

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joseph Pollock, Winnipeg Disability Lawyer

About Joseph A. Pollock

Joseph (Joey) Pollock is a Winnipeg-based attorney with over 35 years of legal experience – 25 of those years dealing with disability and life insurance claims.