News & opinion Episode #12: What the heck is a contingency fee?  

Episode #12: What the heck is a contingency fee?  

What is a contengency fee?

Fo

this episode of the B

e

king Do

n The L

Podc

st <

i>

e'

e joined by Ste

t J. Guss,

<

h

ef=”https://c

inju

yvictims.com

ou

-te

m/ste

t-guss

“>pe

son

l inju

y lye

in Houston >

ho speci

lizes in c

ccidents

esulting in inju

y. He’s joined by B

e

king Do

n The L Podc

st host,

shley

od

iguez. Du

ing tod

y’s episode,

e’ll be le

ning ex

ctly

h

t

<

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ef=”https://c

inju

yvictims.com

l

ye

-contingency-fee-

ve

ge/”>contingency fee > is?

hile it might seem st

ightfo

d, m

ny d

ive

s don’t

e

lize you c

n often get

lye

fo

f

ee

ith no oblig

tion.

  • The fi
    st question you

    l

    ys

    sk

    l

    ye

    is ho

    much is this going to cost me? Nothing upf

    ont fo pe

    son

    l inju

    y l

    ye

    ,

    e

    ill

    o

    k

    nd neve

    chge you unless

    e m

    ke ecove

    y. Some l

    ye

    s ho

    eve

    do chge upf

    ont.

  • hy should I give

    y some of my

    ecove

    y

    hen I c

    n just h

    ndle it by myself?

    e

    o

    k to get you

    h

    t you’

    e

    ctu

    lly entitled to not

    h

    t they e going to offe

    . One thing

    good pe

    son

    l inju

    y l

    ye

    ill do fo

    client besides getting the most f

    om the insunce,

    e

    ill

    lso negoti

    te

    ll of you

    medic

    l bills.

  • Some docto
    s

    on’t even see you if you

    e

    e in

    c

    ccident but sometimes

    e c

    n offe

    you

    LOP so you don’t h

    ve to p

    y

    nything upf

    ont fo

    you

    medic

    l bills.<

    li>

  • Ou
    clients e

    l

    ys fi

    st,

    e tell you

    h

    t you

    options e

    nd let you

    sk

    ll of you

    questions

    nd suppo

    t you

    decision on you

    c

    se

Ste

t discusses these points

nd so m

ny mo

e, so

e hope you’ll join us fo

this episode!

St

y tuned fo

the next inst

llment of the B

e

king Do

n The L

Podc

st <

i>

ith Ste

t J Guss

nd

shley

od

iguez!

Cont

ct Us: 281-783-3934 o

  <

h

ef=”m

ilto:B

e

kingDo

nTheL

@gm

il.com">B

e

kingDo

nTheL

@gm

il.com<> If you nt to subsc

ibe to ou

podc

sts on you

f

vo

ite podc

sts pl

ye

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ef=”https://b

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out.com”> click he

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egul people,

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k do

n the l

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host, Stut Gus

nd

shley

od

iguez. They h

ve the inside scoop on eve

ything leg

l

nd ne

s

o

thy.

shley

od

iguez : 0:34

elcome to b

e

king do

n the l. Tod

y

e'

e going to t

lk

bout contingency fees.

h

t’s the contingency fee, Ste

t, Ste

t J Guss : 0:41

Contingency fee me

ns th

t if you need

g

e

t lye

, you c

n

ffo

d to hi

e one. Bec

use unde contingency fee system, you don't p

y

nything unless

nd until you

lyeins you

c

se.

nd th

t's the y

e h

ndle like 99.9% of ou

c

ses. Inte

estingly, it’s funny bec

use you kno

, I’ve been doing this fo

25 yes.

nd I

lys

ssume th

t people kno

th

t th

t’s the c

se th

t th

t ou

Consult

tions e f

ee.

nd you don't p

y

nything unless

nd until

e

in

nd

ecove

money. Do you kno

th

t th

t’s

ctu

lly the most common question th

t

e get f

om ne

clients th

t e th

t

e

e

ching out to us

nd nt to t

lk to us

bout

n inju

y

ccident c

se?

shley

od

iguez : 1:29

I bet bec

use they'

e thinking I just got my c

to

ed. I gott

p

y fo

Ube

, I got medic

l bills, I’m t

king time off f

om

o

k,

nd I just c

n’t

ffo

d

lye

. Bec

use mostly,

hen you he

the

o

d l

ye

, you think, oh, th

t’s gonn

cost Ste

t J Guss : 1:39

me

lot money. Ye

h, ye

h. Ye

h, ye

h, it fo

ce

t

in types of l

, it’s t

ue, you kno

, l

ye

ce

t

inly c

n be expensive.

nd if you need

f

mily lye

fo

divo

ce o

child suppo

t, o

if you need

c

imin

l defense lye

fo

t

ffic ticket, o

something, you've got to p

y up f

ont,

nd the

e's no gu

ntee, you kno

th

t they’

e going to do

ny good, you p

id you

money. The be

utiful pt

bout

contingency fee ngement is th

t, you kno

,

e’ll t

lk to you fo

f

ee,

e’ll investig

te you

c

se fo

f

ee.

nd mo

e th

n th

t,

e

ill fight you

c

se to the ends of the eth,

ithout ch

ging you

dime. Unless

nd until

e m

ke

ecove

y.

nd

e've h

ndled, I think, p

ob

bly 10s of thous

nds of c

ses

t ou

fi

m. Eve

y once in

hile bec

use of ci

cumst

nces beyond ou

cont

ol,

e might find on

c

se fo

ye

o

t

o o

even longe

.

nd

t the end of the d

y, you kno

, m

ybe

defend

nt goes out of business decles b

nk

uptcy on insunce comp

ny becomes insolvent, o

something else.

nd even though

e've put in

ll th

t time,

nd

ll th

t effo

t,

nd you kno

, sometimes hund

eds of hou

s of ou

time, if

e don't m

ke

ecove

y fo

ou

client, you knoe nt to do is

e

nt to sh

ke ou

clients

nd th

nk them fo

the oppo

tunity to

ep

esent them. M

ke su

e th

t they unde

st

nd th

t

e did eve

ything

e could

nd then

t the end of the d

y, they don’t p

y us

penny.

nd hopefully

e

lk

y f

iends.

shley

od

iguez : 3:08

o

, th

t

lmost sounds too good to be t

ue. So

h

t

bout fees? e they

e

lly

o

th it? Like my insunce comp

ny? Isn’t the

e going to be fees?

h

t's the settlement diffe

ence?

Ste

t J Guss : 3:19 Ye

h, so th

t's the thing, you kno

, bec

use people don't nt to, you kno

, they’

e like, you he people

ll the time, but like,

hy should I give

l

ye

, you kno

, p

t of my

ecove

y? Isn’t th

t just going to t

ke money off of my t

ble? Let me give you

n ex

mple. So fo

ex

mple, let's s

y someone comes to us, they

nt to hi

e us.

nd let’s s

y they've got, you kno

, they

ent to the eme

gency

oom

nd bet

een cop

ys

nd eve

ything else,

nd let's s

y they’ve got $15,000 in medic

l bills,

ell, m

ybe thei

insu

nce comp

ny is only offe

ing them 12,000.

nd then if they nt to hi

e us,

nd let's s

y

e chge one thi

d,

ell, th

t me

ns th

t they’

e going to lose 4000 of th

t $12,000, they’ll h

ve even less money to p

y bills. So th

t's

h

t

lot of people think. But he

e's the de

l. The

e's

lot th

t goes into th

t equ

tion th

t people don’t

e

lize,

hich is numbe

one, the biggest p

t of ou

job is to m

ke su

e th

t

e'

e getting you

h

t you’

e entitled to. So just bec

use the insu

nce comp

ny h

s offe

ed 12,000 bucks, th

t does me

n th

t th

t's

ll you’

e going to get

nd th

t's the end of the sto

y, t

ke it o

le

ve it. It's ou

job to go to

o

k like

dog

fte

bone, like insu

nce comp

ny. You kno

,

e'

e going to t

y

nd get you mo

e th

n 12,000.

e'

e going to t

y

nd get you 20,000 o

30,000 o

40,000 o

100,000.

shley

od

iguez : 4:41

the negoti

tion p

ocess

ight

nd you’ve been doing this.

Ste

t J Guss : 4:45 It's

negoti

tion p

ocess. But he

e's the de

l,

shley goshi

tion is b

e

k do

n.

e’ll go to cou

t

nd

e'll fight fo

you

ights. But th

t's only pt of bec

use

h

t

lot of people don't

e

lize is th

t one of the things th

t

good pe

son

l inju

y lyeill do fo client, in

ddition to t

ying to get the most they possibly c

n, out of the insu

nce comp

ny. The othe

thing th

t

e do is

e e going to negoti

te on those medic

l bills

nd

ny othe

outst

nding, you kno

, m

ybe you

post

ge, to get b

ck to m

y h

ve something c

lled

sub

og

tion,

e'

e going to t

y

nd negoti

te do

n

nything th

t h

s to come out of th

t

ecove

y. So

h

t

lot of people don't

e

lize is th

t

e'

e

o

king both sides of the equ

tion fo

ou

clients. Not only e

e t

ying to coves much money

s

e c

n fo

them coming in, but

nything th

t h

s to be p

id out,

e’

e

lso negoti

ting to t

y

nd get th

t do

n. Si

, coming

nd going, eve

ything

e do is designed to put the m

ximum

mount of net c

sh

ecove

y into ou

clients pocket.

shley

od

iguez : 5:50

Ye

h, th

t is me. No

,

lot of medic

l comp

nies, they kno

if they'

e gonn

get th

t money up f

ont, they

ill negoti

te do

n bec

use then they don't h

ve to

it fo

it. Ste

t J Guss : 5:58

Ye

h,

nd th

t's

nothe

thing th

t people don’t

e

lize not necess

ily

el

ted to contingency fee. But

lot of the times docto

s

on't even see you, if they kno

th

t you've been in

c

eck. So one of the things th

t

e could do,

e'

e

illing to offe

h

t's kno

n

s

lette

of p

otection so th

t sometimes ou

clients

e

e

ble to get the medic

l t

e

tment they need, not only

ithout p

ying us up f

ont, but even

ithout p

ying thei

medic

l p

ovide

s up f

ont. It’s not 100% of the time, you kno

,

nd

e c

n’t gu

ntee it, but th

t’s one of the things th

t

e’

e

ble to do ve

y, ve

y often

nd it m

kes life much much e

sie

fo

someone

ho’s been in

e

d.

shley

od

iguez : 6:35 Oh, ye

h, cuz you’

e going th

ough so much like you

lys s

y, like, no one

kes up in the mo

ning pl

nning to get in the c

.

Ste

t J Guss : 6:40

ight? Ex

ctly. You ke up in the mo

ning pl

nning to put on you

p

nts get don't ke up in the mo

ning pl

nning to get into

c

. So p

nts, no p

oblem. Fi

st ski

t, I kno

it's you

p

nts, o

ski

t o

shoes, no p

oblem.

e got this. But

c

pp comes out of no

he

e, like

piece of Skyl

b f

lling out of the sky.

nd by the

y, unless you’

e old like I

m, you h

ve no ideh

t I’m t

lking

bout. So Google, YouTube.

shley

od

iguez : 7:14

nd th

t is

h

t Ste

t sounds like

hen he's gonn

settle you

c

se.

Ste

t J Guss : 7:20 Don't

o

y, don’t

oy,

e’

e h

ving fun on the othe

podc

st.

nd I love h

ving fun

ith you.

nd I love h

ving fun. My clients. T

ust me,

hen

e go to cou

t,

ll of us kno

ho

to put on ou

f

ce. But not no

not on the podc

st. I'm just I'm just t

ying to h

ve fun.

shley

od

iguez : 7:36

Definitely p

ofession

l

hen you h

ve to be but the

e's sometimes you just gott

h

ve fun. Ste

t J Guss : 7:41

Ex

ctly. So

ny othe

questions fo

me on contingency fees?

shley

od

iguez : 7:45 So b

sic

lly, ho

does it

o

k? Is the

e

ny ext

fees? In the end? I hi

e you on

contingency fee? you settle you

c

se?

e the

e ext fees? Ho

does it b

e

k do

n? Ste

t J Guss : 7:57

So let me tell you, gene

lly spe

king, let's s

y it’s

typic

l c

ccident c

se, gene

lly spe

king, you'

e going to find th

t the st

nd

d contingency fee is going to be one thi

d. Ok

y. So

h

teve

it is th

t

e'

e

ble to

ecove

f

om the insu

nce comp

ny, outto

neys fees

e going to be one thi

d of th

t

ecove

. No

, the

e

e

couple of f

cto

s th

t c

n ch

nge th

t

little bit. So fo

ex

mple,

nd

g

in, this is p

etty st

ndd,

e’

e going to do eve

ything

e c

n to t

y

nd get you

c

se settled

client's c

se settled on te

ms th

t

e pe

fectly

ccept

ble to the client.

nd

emembe

, it’s the client’s decision, not ou

s,

e’

e going to t

y

nd get th

t c

se settled

ithout h

ving to file

l

suit, th

t p

ob

bly h

ppens, I’d s

y

bout 75 to 80% of the time. But once

e do file

l

suit, the

mount of time

nd effo

t

nd suppo

t st

ff th

t

e need to invest in

c

se goes up subst

nti

lly. So typic

lly, outto

neys fees go

t th

t point f

om one thi

d to 40%. If

e h

ve to file

lsuit,

nd it’s impo

t

nt to m

ke th

t distinction, not if

e go to t

y, bec

use the thing people don't

e

lize is by the time

e

ctu

lly

lk into

cou

t

oom

nd go to t

i

l, 99.9% of the

o

k on the c

se h

s

l

e

dy been done. If

e file

lsuit, the fee goes f

om one thi

d to 40%. But

g

in, it doesn't h

ppen in

v

cuum.

nd it's only going to h

ppen

hen ou

client tells us Yep, let’s do it. I’m ok

y

ith it. Go

he

d.

shley

od

iguez : 9:38 Ye

h. So you p

esent to them

h

t the offe

is,

nd you s

y this is the offe

. Do you t

ke it o

not?

ould you like us to file

lsuit

nd go f

om the

e?

Ste

t J Guss : 9:47 Ye

h, ex

ctly.

nd it’s

ctu

lly mo

e involved in th

t p

ocess th

t

e do

hen

e t

lk to ou

clients,

ight,

e

lly the

y th

t I look

t my job

nd the y th

t my

tto

neys look

t thei

job in de

ling

ith ou

Clients is ou

job is to give you info

m

tion

nd options

bout

h

t ou

clients nt to do,

ight? Yes. So do you

nt to settle? O

do you nt to file

l

suit? He

e e the p

os, he

e e the cons.

nd

t th

t point,

e encouge ou

client to

sk

s m

ny questions

s they need to. But ultim

tely,

nd

e'll

ns

e

, I’ve spent t

o hou

s in

confe

ence

ith

client befo

e going ove

the p

os

nd cons.

nd you got to

emembe

,

e

o

k fo

ou

clients, they’

e the boss, not

client fi

st,

l

ys,

bsolutely.

nd p

t of ou

job,

e

lly, the most impo

t

nt pt of ou

job is to keep ou

clients info

med.

nd

hen they do m

ke

decision

bout thei

c

se,

e

e

lly

nt it to be

n info

med decision th

t they eventu

lly m

ke.

shley

od

iguez : 10:44

Ye

h,

nd they feel comfo

t

ble

bout the decision, bec

use they’ve he

d

ll of the info

m

tion. Ste

t J Guss : 10:49

Ex

ctly.

nd they’

e empo

e

ed, they'

e empo

e

ed to t

ke the c

se in

h

teve

di

ection they see fit.

e

sked them to listen to ou

dvice.

nd

e’ll give he

dvice, bec

use th

t’s p

t of ou

job.

nd ultim

tely,

s I’ve s

id befo

e,

s

l

ye

,

hen my client tells me to jump, I

sked ho

high. So the

e

e

e

couple of othe

things

bout contingency fee, so th

t I nted to mention

nd expenses. The

e e some othe

issues, the

e e ce

t

in types of c

ses

he

e contingency fees m

y be

couple of pe

cent

ge points highe

.

nd th

t is bec

use fo

ex

mple, it might be

type of c

se th

t's unusu

lly difficult to

in. Fo

ex

mple, p

emises li

bility c

ses, often t

ke

lot of

o

k

nd h

ve

lot mo

e unce

t

inty th

n

moto

vehicle, B

ett, so but he

e's the thing

ith us.

nd

ith

ny legitim

te

tto

ney, you’

e going to kno

ex

ctly

h

t the fees e, befo

e you hi

e the lye

, the

e's not going to be

ny su

p

ises.

shley

od

iguez : 11:55 So b

sic

lly, if you e h

ving

consult

tion, though,

ith the lye

,

nd they'

e not

illing to put those fees up f

ont

nd t

lk to you

bout

ll of them

un the othe

y.

Ste

t J Guss : 12:04 Just like you h

d success th

t mo

ning, putting on you

p

nts o

you

ski

t. If you h

ve

lyend you'

e t

lking to

l

ye

,

nd they’

e not

illing to give

ll this info

m

tion to you up f

ont,

t th

t point, you st

nd up out of the ch

i

, you put you

h

t on you

he

d, you tu

n

ound

nd you lk out the doo

, pe

iod, end of sto

y.

shley

od

iguez : 12:22 Ye

h, you should be

ble to t

ust you

lyend eve

ything should be upf

ont. Ste

t J Guss : 12:27

Ye

h, you kno

, one of the g

e

t things, one of the g

e

t joys th

t I've h

d in p

cticing pe

son

l inju

y l fo

25 ye

s, it’s p

etty common th

t ou

fi

m

ill be

et

ined by

client,

ho's h

d

e

lly b

d expe

ience

ith

pe

son

l inju

y l

ye

in the p

st.

nd they

sk

lot of questions.

nd they’

e ve

y cynic

l,

nd they’

e ve

y doubtful.

nd one of my g

e

t p

ofession

l joys in life is I tell those folks, you kno

,

hen

e meet

ith them, hey, look, I kno

th

t you don't t

ust me.

nd I don't bl

me you, bec

use you've been bu

ned befo

e.

h

t I'm

e

lly looking fod to is th

ee months, six months,

ye do

n the line,

hen this is

ll done.

nd you see hoell

e’ve t

ken ce of you,

nd ho

honest

e’ve been

ith you. I'm looking fod to ch

nging you

mind

bout l

ye

s.

nd

e

e get to do it

ll the time. It's teific.

shley

od

iguez : 13:23

So is the

e

nything in specific

potenti

l client should

sk

l

ye

bout contingency fees up f

ont? Ste

t J Guss : 13:31

Ye

h, so the contingency fee issue is

el

tively stightfod. One othe

thing I do like to mention,

nd it's impo

t

nt thing to go ove

is the thing

bout expenses. Ok

y? Oftentimes,

hen

e’

e

o

king on

c

se,

e’

e going to h

ve c

se expenses

s

e

ep

esent

client.

nd those c

se expenses might be

s little

s let’s s

y, $8, fo copy of

police

epo

t, o

those expenses might be hund

eds, o

in e

lly big m

ssive c

se, even thous

nds of dolls, pe

h

ps, fon expe

t

itness fon

ccident

econst

uctionist. No

, these e fees th

t ou

l fi

m is going to be p

ying fo

out of ou

pocket,

e

ite

check fo

them,

nd most lye

s

e going to

nt to get those expenses p

id b

ck

t the end of the c

se.

nd one of the things th

t I

e

lly u

ge people to

sk is,

m I going to be

esponsible fo

those c

ses expenses, even if

e don't

in my c

se. No

, ou

fi

m, it doesn’t m

tte

if

e've spent $100 $1,000 o

$5,000 o

mo

e in c

se expenses fo

us. If

e don't

in you

c

se,

e te up those

eceipts.

nd

g

in, you don't o

e us

dime in

tto

neys fees. You don't o

e us

dime fo

ou

c

se expenses.

e just nt to sh

ke h

nds

e

nt you to kno

th

t

e've done eve

ything

e could

nd

e lk

y f

om it. He kno

s m

ny yes l

te

. So

ith

ll pe

son

l inju

y l

ye

s, so th

t’s one tip I

nted to give eve

ybody

ho’s listening,

sk

bout ho

expenses e

shley

od

iguez : 15:14

ex

ctly. Most people, you

ould think, you kno

, if you don't

in my c

se, then I h

ve to p

y those expenses. O

m

ybe I'm even

esponsible fo

you

fee, bec

use the

o

k you did.

nd th

t's

h

t c

n m

ke people kind of hesit

te. Ok

y. Ste

t J Guss : 15:29

Ye

h.

nd th

t's

hy ou

leg

l system is designed to m

ke it

s e

sy

s possible fo

people to be

ble to hi

e e

lly high qu

lity expe

ienced pe

son

l inju

y lye

to

ep

esent them

ith

e

lly

bsolutely no

isk to them. So I guess if the

e’s

nything else I nt to

dd, o

if the

e’s

nything I nt to s

y, in conclusion, it’s this. Getting into

c

ccident is

ve

y complic

ted situ

tion. Setting

side the inju

ies th

t you've got,

nd the medic

l things th

t you’ve got going on, you

leg

l situ

tion is just

s complic

ted

nd just

s impo

t

nt. So

h

t I s

y to people is, look, if you

e

e in

c

ccident,

nd God fo

bid, the

e's the Je

ish mothe

,

nd m

y, God fo

bid, you b

oke you

m.

ould you Google? Ho

to fix you

o

n

m

nd t

y

nd do it on you

o

n to s

ve some money? O

ould you just get you

e into

docto

nd h

ve you

docto

t

e

t? Ok

y? It’s the s

me thing

ith the leg

l end of things. You might think you c

n h

ndle it on you

o

n, but I gu

ntee you those insu

nce comp

nies, they've done it thous

nds

nd thous

nds of times they’ve got one job one job only. Th

t's to p

y you

s little

s possible on you

cl

ims.

hethe

it’s me, my l

fi

m,

ny of my l

ye

s cou

t, the

e's plenty of g

e

t pe

son

l inju

y l

ye

s out the

e. If you’ve been hu

t,

nd it’s someone else’s f

ult. Don't Google it. Don't t

y to do it on you

o

n. hi

e

l

ye

unde contingency fee

ith no

isk. The best th

t c

n h

ppen is you get

g

e

t outcome. You get

good

ecove

y. The

o

st thing c

n h

ppen is like I s

id,

e sh

ke h

nds,

e lk

y f

iends.

shley

od

iguez : 17:09

Yes, ex

ctly. If you

e

e hu

t in

c

ccident, m

ke su

e you c

ll us just fo f

ee consult

tion

t Ste

t j Guss

t 281-783-3934.

nd

e’d love to just

ns

e

ll of you

questions. Ste

t J Guss : 17:24

Yep, no commitment, no cost fo

the consult

tion. If

e c

n help you g

e

t. If not, no p

oblem.

e’

e gl

d to just give you some info.

shley

od

iguez : 17:33 Th

nk you fo

listening to b

e

king do

n the l

.

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