How Much Will My Personal Injury Case Cost?
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How much will your personal injury case set you back? This question, as with most legal questions, deserves the tried and true lawyerly answer: It depends.
The amount your personal injury case will cost depends on the answers to questions like these: Will your case go to trial? What kind of witnesses does your case require? Who caused your injury?
The best way to get the closest possible answer is to take advantage of a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer in personal injury can help you gauge the various factors in your case that could make it cost more or less. From there, you will be able to tell whether it is worth your time, effort, and money to pursue your case.
what are the expenses in a personal injury case?
You should not start litigating your personal injury case without a rough idea of how much the process will cost. Victims who do not take this into account might be disappointed by the expenses they incur compared to the reward they receive. Many people are unaware of just how much there is to lose in a case that should have settled or never been filed in the first place.
While you might think of the cost of a settlement amount itself and lawyer’s fees, you might not have considered court costs, administrative fees, and the cost of expert witnesses. In this article, we will discuss the various fees involved in a personal injury case and how you can receive a free consultation from a lawyer near you.
Under the American legal system, attorney fees are separate from court costs, and each party is expected to pay his or her own attorney regardless of who wins in a given case. There is some fluctuation in how lawyers take payment, but depending on the kind of job a lawyer is tasked with, he or she will charge a flat fee, an hourly rate, and/or a contingent rate. Lawyers must charge “reasonable” fees, and the different methods of payment can help you understand whether you think a lawyer’s fees are reasonable and whether you would like to hire him or her.
Some lawyers charge a flat fee for a project regardless of the amount of time it takes. This is common for uncontested cases that are routine, such as these:
- name changes
- traffic tickets
- some divorces
- simple wills
If the case is simpler or more complex and takes less or more time than anticipated, the attorney will probably neither reduce nor increase the price of the project for a flat fee.
Most attorneys charge by the hour, and the more years of experience an attorney has, the more he or she will likely charge per hour. However, it might also take the more experienced attorney less time to work on your case than it would take a less experienced attorney. Hours the lawyer spends outside of the office might cost a client more than the hours the lawyer spends in the office.
While a more expensive hourly rate might indicate more experience, that does not mean that the most expensive lawyer is the best. The best lawyer is one who will truly take the client’s interests to heart, even if that means forgoing the case to ultimately save the client money.
Some lawyers make their rates contingent on a successful outcome of the client’s case. Different from an hourly rate or a flat rate, a contingency fee is a percentage of the final amount the client receives; this is popular for personal injury cases in which a person receives compensation for an injury. The contingency, or the amount the lawyer receives from a successful case, is often somewhere between 20% and 50% of the total settlement or judgment amount.
A contingency fee system helps clients by providing a legal connection for clients who might not otherwise be able to afford a lawyer. It also gives attorneys an incentive to ensure the success of their clients, for it shifts the risk of losing the case onto the lawyer.
When you look for a lawyer for your personal injury case, you will learn a lot about an attorney by whether he or she offers a free consultation. While plenty of lawyers are happy to take your money regardless of whether your case will be successful, the best lawyers will let you know through a free lawyer consultation whether your claim is strong enough to pursue.
No attorney has a magical crystal ball to tell you how your case will come out, but an experienced lawyer doing personal injury work should have a ballpark idea of whether you can get a worthwhile settlement. A free attorney consultation lets both the client and the attorney understand the contours of the case, the client’s options moving forward, and whether the client might get a good settlement.
Often, a case brought by a victim of a personal injury can benefit from the testimony of an expert witness. This is because the rules of courts usually do not allow ordinary witnesses to give their own opinions or analyses. An expert witness, on the other hand, can give opinions, analyses, and even conclusions about the case so long as the expert testifies on a topic of his or her expertise.
You can hire a medical practitioner expert witness to testify about the standard of care in your medical malpractice case, or you can hire an expert from a car manufacturer to testify about the design defect of your car in your products liability case. There are countless expert witnesses covering just as many topics who are willing to testify for a price. A well-connected personal injury lawyer will have (in addition to a free lawyer consultation) a reliable network of expert witnesses who can testify on your behalf.
Court costs and administrative fees
Finally, you should anticipate court costs and administrative fees in your personal injury case. Court costs and administrative fees are used to pay the government workers who run things around the courthouse. These costs can include the following:
- Initial filing fee
- Sheriff’s fee for serving the summons, complaint, and/or subpoenas
- Court reporter’s fee for transcriptions of depositions and/or in-court testimony
- Cost of photocopying exhibits and/or court papers
- Juror stipends
- Clerk’s fee
- Court marshal’s fee
What a court may or may not include in its costs varies by state, but the state laws for court costs are not always clear. If you hire a personal injury lawyer, ensure that he or she has experience handling cases in your state to know how to minimize your court costs and administrative fees.
Who pays for which costs in personal injury cases?
As we mentioned earlier, each party pays its own attorney regardless of who wins or loses the case. Each side will also be expected to cover the cost of their own expert witnesses.
In personal injury cases, which are civil cases, the losing party normally must pay court costs. A lawyer who does personal injury law will work out a contract ahead of time with the client to ensure that there are no surprises when it comes to court costs, especially if the client’s case is not successful. This contract is particularly important since many judges defer to the agreement that attorneys and clients noted there, specifically that the agreement indicates that the parties intended to be bound by the terms they came up with.
Which lawyers near me give a free consultation?
It is well worth your time to find out how much your case might cost. Whether you simply need to dismiss a “What if?” scenario or you need to make your tortfeasor pay for the injury he or she caused you, a free lawyer consultation can help you make that decision. Do not let the compensation you deserve pass by unclaimed, and do not waste precious resources on an attorney who will happily take your money and let you lose your case.
You might still be wondering, “Which lawyers near me give a free consultation?” Find a Zinda Law Group lawyer near you for a free consultation. Our attorneys want to hear about your injury and the circumstances that lead to it along with your concerns about the cost of litigation; that way, we can see if we may help you recover before you invest in a lawyer—not after.
Contact our lawyers at (800) 863-5312 and we will ensure that you will get a free attorney consultation. As one of our clients, you will enjoy not only a free consultation but also our No Win, No Fee Guarantee. This means when you use one of our lawyers for your personal injury, you will not pay anything unless we win your case for you; these benefits are yours in addition to the years and volume of experience behind each of our compassionate lawyers.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.