Attorney Fees, Costs and Expenses in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Personal injury lawsuits entail a variety of costs and expenses, regardless of who wins. Attorney fees are among the most common expenses, but there are many others. These costs often dictate whether or not the attorney will take the case. They will later influence settlement decisions. It is important for clients to understand these costs from the outset.
The costs of a personal injury claim include but are by no means limited to court filing fees, copying, printing, paid legal research, medical records, and police reports. Many cases will also require the services of private investigators. In fact, the investigator is often needed very early to determine whether or not the case is worth pursuing at all. These may sound trivial but in a significant case, these can get fairly costly.
Depending on the case, there are often far greater costs that make pursuing a claims extremely expensive and risky to the lawyer. The most common are expert witness fees. There may be a host of experts in a variety of fields associated with any particular case. These experts must be paid, and they are paid quite handsomely. In addition, these experts are often located out of state requiring out of state depositions which entails all the expenses of travel.
For each and every witness, expert, investigator, or party to the suit, there will often be deposition costs. It often comes as quite a surprise and sometimes shock to the client to learn how expensive depositions can be.
Fortunately for the client, the attorney will typically pay these costs up front. The client only pays upon successful recovery from the client's portion of the proceeds. However, it should be stressed that the client does eventually pay for the costs of litigation upon recovery. For this and other reasons, it is extremely important for clients to understand the particular fee arrangement.
It is always important to discuss fees and costs with your personal injury attorney early and often to avoid unpleasant surprises in the future. After all, litigating a claim to success and having nothing to show for it after costs does little for the client or the attorney.