It likely does not come as a surprise to anyone that litigation is expensive. It goes without saying that if an injured individual has chosen to hire a personal injury attorney for representation in a claim, that the attorney is to be compensated for their time and efforts. The lawyer and client are free to agree on how the attorney is paid: on an hourly basis, or by a percentage of the proceeds of the case, which typically called a contingency fee arrangement. Whatever the injured person and the attorney agree upon are the attorney’s fees for that case. Another and equally significant factor in an expense analysis is the role of litigation costs. Costs are the expenses necessary for litigation aside from and in addition to attorney's fees
Some common examples of the costs of litigation would be things like:
- court filing fees
- service of process fees
- deposition transcripts
- the retention of an expert witness and any testing that that witness might perform
- trial exhibits
- copying, postage, faxes overnight deliveries
- obtaining medical records and bills
With limited exception, the biggest expense in a typical personal injury, indeed perhaps in any case, is the hiring of an expert witness. In any injury case, this is almost invariably going to be a doctor-although depending on the type of case you might see another expert with expertise in a discipline that is related to the happening of an accident. For example:
- an accident reconstructionist
- an industrial hygienist
- an engineer
- an economist or rehabilitation expert
The expenses of obtaining an expert's opinion and compensating for them for their time is significant- ranging from the low thousands into the many thousands of dollars. Many attorneys will agree to advance, or pay upfront, the reasonable costs of litigation although they are not obligated to do so. Under a typical contingency fee arrangement for use in personal injury cases, if there is no recovery the client is not responsible for any advanced costs, and if there is a recovery those advance expenses are recaptured from the proceeds of the case.
Litigation is an expensive proposition.
At times the decision of whether or not to litigate a matter involves a careful and detailed analysis on the part of the client. That individual may well need to balance, on the one hand, the expected results of a successful case against the costs of achieving that successful outcome.
The analysis must necessarily take into account a negative outcome and the cost that might be lost in the pursuit. As experienced attorney can provide guidance on what types of costs might be incurred any given case, preliminarily, to assist the potential litigant in their decision-making.