When you are injured in an accident, you know that you must do something to recover damages from the party that was responsible for your injuries. You may be envisioning the funds coming into your account and how all the financial issues stemming from the accident will finally be solved. The reality, however, does not usually work that way. In a more common scenario, you and your personal injury attorney might find yourselves in a negotiation with the other party in order to come up with a figure that will satisfy both sides.
Yet, these negotiations do not always move forward. When they fail and the personal injury lawsuit needs to be taken to court, the expenses will quickly add up. That is why credible injury claims tend to be settled out of court.
The fees your attorney will charge to prepare a case for court and to represent you throughout the procedure will be quite substantial.
Although your attorney has advised you that they will be working on a contingency fee, heading to court may mean that the percentage of the money they receive will rise if you win the case. If your lawyer asked for 30% of the money coming to you, the percentage might increase to 40% or higher once the case goes to court. Even though this amount will not come out of your own pocket, the final amount you will be able to take home will be much lower.
Insurance companies will generally not work on a contingency fee with their lawyers, so they pay them by the hour, particularly when they are not their own lawyers but outside counsel. This fee can easily range between $150 and $400 per hour. Keep that in mind when you realize that a trial can take over 50 or 60 hours.
Many injury cases call for expert witnesses to testify. They may be engineers with expertise in certain automotive subjects for car accident cases, doctors who are called to testify on the need for specific medical treatments after an injury, accountants, and other experts. It is not unusual for these experts to command fees that range in the thousands of dollars per case.
Although not the greatest expense, court and filing fees can easily amount to hundreds of dollars per case. There are also administrative and miscellaneous fees that can quickly add up.
Each trial has its complexities, making a single answer impossible to address all cases. However, as Balkin & Mausner point out, it is not uncommon to discover that an easy, straightforward case can cost $10,000, while core complex and lengthier cases may quickly run up to $30,000. Cases that are unusually large and involve several attorneys with their corresponding hundreds of hours of legal fees can cost upwards of $100,000.
As if this was not surprising enough, it is also common for personal injury cases to take years to be resolved and for the plaintiff to finally receive payment. You may be better off trying to resolve your case through negotiation before heading to court.