Construction Defects Lawsuits on a Contingency Fee?

Cristina Pierson, Attorney, Kelley | Uustal

Like many types of commercial cases, construction defect litigation can be expensive, and fronting hourly fees is often difficult for the injured individual or business that needs to pursue claims in court.  So if the financial injuries are sizeable, why not consider another approach to hiring an attorney, such as a contingency fee arrangement?  From my personal experience, I can tell you it can be a highly beneficial alternative.

To be clear, a contingent fee arrangement means that the lawyer’s compensation for services rendered is dependent or “contingent” in whole or in part on the successful outcome of the case.  It also means the clients do not pay legal fees based on the number of hours worked.  Instead, clients pay a fee based on the percentage of any financial recovery obtained through litigation or settlement.  Certainly, this type of fee arrangement is well known in personal injury litigation.  Yet, unfortunately it is often overlooked in the commercial context.  But it can absolutely be as useful and  advantageous!

Employing a contingency fee attorney often creates the opportunity to pursue viable claims in court against the culpable parties whose negligence or breach of duty caused material defects in a construction project. Indeed, a project owner or developer faced with this situation may not have available resources to fund litigation.  Making matters worse, construction defect cases often become protracted because of the complexity of the claims or the number of parties involved.     

Faced with these hurdles, a contingency fee model can provide a flexible alternative to traditional hourly fee arrangements.  It would allow a client to conserve company resources, reduce risk of loss, and continue operations without the burden of paying hourly attorney’s fees while the case is pending.  In addition, contingency fee arrangements tend to result in more efficient and productive handling of the litigation in order to avoid delay and bring about a swifter outcome for all involved.

It is true that there are fewer commercial lawyers willing to work for a contingency fee, but many commercial cases, including construction defect lawsuits, are handled by experienced Florida attorneys on a contingency basis.  Sometimes, that is the only option for an injured client who cannot otherwise afford to hire counsel, or who is unable to continue to pay hourly fees after the case has already begun. 

If you have not considered hiring a contingency fee attorney to pursue your construction defect claims, you are best served to explore that option.  As a trial attorney board certified in business litigation, I have, for many years, successfully handled a variety of commercial disputes on a contingency basis, including construction defect claims. This allowed the clients to control risk, better allocate resources during the litigation, and at the same time legally pursue those responsible for catastrophic losses suffered to their property and businesses.   Whether you are already involved in a construction defect lawsuit or about to file one, make sure to ask yourself whether your case is ripe for a contingency fee arrangement.   The answer could be “Absolutely!”

constructioncontingency fee

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