Litigation Costs in Personal Injury Cases

Personal Injury Litigation CostsIf you choose to hire a personal injury lawyer, your agreement will most likely provide for reimbursement for the actual costs and expenses advanced by your attorney in connection from your claim.  Although these litigation costs are relatively manageable, some expenses can get quite high thereby effecting your net recovery in the event of a settlement.

“On the one hand, an attorney that racks up lots of unnecessary expenses is certainly doing you no favors. Most personal injury victims are surprised to learn that the case costs can vary from lawyer to lawyer by thousands of dollars for essentially the same work.”  Read full article here:

The litigation costs expended in any given case can vary depending on many factors including the complexity of the case, the need for expert testimony, and as well as the volume of documentation and records that must be obtained.  For instance, a simple car accident case can probably be resolved by obtaining a police report and a few medical records.  However, a case involving long-term, serious injuries may require the use of expert witnesses which usually cause the case expenses to rise dramatically.  Here is a summary of some of the expenses that a victim of a personal injury case might expect their attorney to pay in connection with any given claim.

Public records.  These documents are usually requested through some city or governmental agency such as a police department, city department, or the department of public safety.  They generally included things like the costs of obtaining police reports, driving records, building code violations, and so on.    These expenses are relatively small.  For example, the cost for obtaining a certified accident report from the Texas Department of Public Safety is around $8.00, but is usually necessary in any car accident case.

Medical Records.  Naturally, if you involved in a personal injury case, you probably has medical treatment at some hospital or medical facility.  Although you have to absolute right to obtain your medical records, you may be required to pay for them.  Texas law provides that a medical facility may charge a reasonable fee in copying a patient’s medical records.  These fees are regulated by law, but can still be somewhat costly depending on the case.  For example, obtaining medical records for a typical emergency room visit may very well be under $100.  At the same time, the costs for obtaining hospital records in connection with a surgery, or requesting records from multiple facilities may cause the expenses for obtain those record may be several hundred dollars or more.  Nevertheless, these expenses cannot be avoided since very personal injury case will require the review of the client’s medical records.

Filing Fees.  If a lawsuit must be filed in your case, then there are unavoidable costs in filing the suit with the court and obtaining service of the lawsuit on the defendant.  The typical filing fee in Dallas for a personal injury case is about $250, and the costs for a process server is about $80. On the bright side, the filing fees are the same not matter how bring or small your case is.

Depositions.  In most cases, the attorneys will want to take depositions of the parties through a certified court reporter.  Usually the defense attorney will take the deposition of the injured plaintiff, while your attorney might decide to take the deposition of the defendant.  Whoever requests the deposition must pay the associated expenses for the court reporter’s fees.  A typical deposition in a car accident may cost between $400-500, and even a few hundred dollars more if the deposition is video-taped by a professional videographer.

Expert Witnesses.   If your attorney decides that an expert witness must be retained in your case,  the case expenses can get very high very fast.  For instance, if your attorney must retain a medical expert in a personal injury case, some doctors charge upwards of $1,000 per hour (or more) to review medical records, dictate reports, and give deposition or trial testimony.  Other experts that might be necessary in a personal injury case include accident reconstruction experts, economic experts, engineering experts, and long-term care experts.  Because expert witnesses are very expensive, your attorney should be very careful in weighing the need for the expert with potential value of the case.  Additionally, your attorney can be creative is obtaining the necessary evidence without the need for incurring the costs of retaining an expert.  But the need for an expert is something that is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Mediation.  A mediation is an informal settlement conference that usually comes much later in the litigation process.  Almost every personal injury case will go to mediation, either by court order or by agreement of the parties.  Although mediation poses the best opportunity to settle your case, it does come at a cost.  The mediation process is moderated by a third-party mediator who charges a fees for this service.  The typical mediator’s fee for half-day mediation in Dallas personal injury case is about $400 – 600, while a full-day will cost $1,000 or more.

The role of a personal injury lawyer is to weigh the need for certain expenses with the potential settlement recovery that the case may bring.  While certain expenses can be avoided, there are costs that almost every case will incur.  While your attorney will probably be careful about advancing unnecessary expenses in your case, you don’t want your attorney to be compromise the success of your case by being too reluctant to pay expenses that are necessary.

[schema type=”organization” orgtype=”LocalBusiness” url=”” name=”RCS Law Firm” description=”Robert C. Slim, Dallas personal injury lawyer and car accident attorney. Free consultation for all new case calls. No attorney fees unless you collect” street=”2603 Oak Lawn Avenue, Suite 200″ city=”Dallas” state=”Texas” postalcode=” 75219″ country=”US” phone=”(214) 321-8225″ ]

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