Examining the Costs of Going to Trial
When pursuing personal injury cases, individuals often have to make challenging decisions regarding the legal path they wish to take. One of these decisions revolves around going to trial, a significant step that carries notable financial implications. From legal fees and court costs to expert witnesses and other miscellaneous expenses, understanding the cost of going to trial in a personal injury case is crucial for informed decision-making. In this post, we examine the costs of going to trial and how they might impact an ultimate recovery.
Personal injury attorneys typically work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only receive payment if the case is successful and results in a settlement or court-awarded compensation. The contingency fee is a percentage of the total compensation, usually ranging from 33% to 40%, but can vary based on the complexity of the case and the stage at which it is resolved. Since fees are paid only upon a successful outcome, they are not typically costs which will weigh heavily on case strategy. That is, since they are usually fixed and non-negotiable, their impact on decisions made during litigation are not always significant.
The exception to this rule arises when an offer for settlement is significantly lower than expected and legal fees, along with other costs, can make the whole lawsuit seem like a futile pursuit. In these instances, some attorneys will reduce their fees to make the offer more likely to be accepted. Attorneys are experienced in civil litigation and understand that settlement is in everyone’s best interests. If settlement can be reached, then much of the costs described below can be avoided.
Initiating a personal injury lawsuit involves filing fees, service of process fees, and other court-related expenses. Court costs can accumulate throughout the various stages of the legal process, including pre-trial motions, discovery, and the trial itself. Additionally, there may be fees associated with obtaining medical records, depositions, and expert witnesses. These costs can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the complexity of the case.
Personal injury cases often require expert testimony and experts don’t generally work for free. Expert witnesses provide specialized insights or opinions related to the injuries, liability, or other relevant aspects of the case. These experts, whether medical professionals, accident reconstruction specialists, or economists, require compensation for their time and expertise. Their fees can be substantial and should be factored into the overall cost of going to trial.
Medical Evaluations and Records
Obtaining medical evaluations and records is a critical part of building a strong personal injury lawsuit. However, this process incurs expenses, including fees for medical consultations, diagnostic tests, and the acquisition of medical records. These costs can accumulate, especially if multiple medical evaluations or treatments are required to support the case adequately. These costs are usually incurred prior to settlement and do not generally impact the decision to ultimately choose trial.
Apart from the major cost components mentioned above, there are various miscellaneous expenses to consider. These can include travel expenses for witnesses, accommodation, document preparation, and other incidentals associated with the legal proceedings. While individually smaller, these costs can add up and contribute to the overall financial burden of going to trial.
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Lawsuit Loans Can Help
The stress of paying for expert testimony or simply keeping up on living expenses can be avoided in some instances by the use of lawsuit loans. As you know, lawsuit loans are a risk free way of financing case costs and expenses since if the trial is lost, there is no repayment required. The non-recourse nature of lawsuit funding means the plaintiff sells a portion of the proceeds ahead of time. Under the terms of the agreement, the lawsuit proceeds are the means to repay the advance. Thus, credit scores and employment history are not used in evaluating the lawsuit loan approval.
A client’s decision to go to trial is generally made with his/her attorney and only after carefully weighing the additional costs against a potential award. Being aware of the financial implications can help individuals make informed choices that align with their interests and objectives throughout the legal process.
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