Do I owe if I lose the case represented by an attorney on a contingency basis?

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This is question a person asked a CA attorney  about a contingency basis not long ago.

“I am a plaintiff in a personal injury case. I have an attorney representing me on contingency basis.

I was told that if I lose my case, I will not be liable for the fees of the defendant’s attorneys. But my attorney had included other issues of breach of contract in the personal injury case.” 

This is how would we respond here in CT:

1. “Would this still be considered a personal injury case?” In Connecticut law if the attorney is hired on a contingency fee agreement then the attorney does not receive any legal fees if the Plaintiff loses their case regardless of the theories of law upon which the attorney sues.

2. “How are personal injury cases defined?” Personal injury cases in CT are usually defined as a claim made by one who has sustained injuries due to the wrongful conduct of another. The personal injuries can be caused by a faulty product, negligent or reckless operation of an automobile by another, dangerous premises not properly maintained by another, and other related type of claims.

3. “In civil cases in general, when a plaintiff loses a case that has strong merits, is the plaintiff  liable for the fees of the defendant’s attorneys?”  Under CT law for the normal personal injury case the Plaintiff does not have to pay the legal fees of the defendant. The Plaintiff would only be on the hook for the costs of the defendant and sometimes small attorney’s fees of $500, if an offer to compromise for a certain amount is filed by the defendant in court and then the Plaintiff receives less than or the amount of the offer to compromise filed by the Defendant from the jury or court at a trial.

4. “In personal injury cases, is the plaintiff’s contingent basis attorney liable for fees of the defendant’s attorneys?”  No, but see answer to #3 above.

5. “In personal injury cases, if the plaintiff’s case was dismissed in pretrial motions before the case reaches a trial, is the defendant and/ or his contingent-fee based attorney liable for the defendant’s attorneys?”  No under prevailing CT law.

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