Attorneys who represent persons injured due to the carelessness and negligence of others usually handle these cases on a contingency fee basis. That is, the attorney will be compensated by receiving a percentage of the money that the client receives from an insurance settlement or jury verdict.
Although the percentage formula may not change, the client’s total expenses can vary significantly. Lawsuit costs are different and separate from attorney fees. These costs are expenses paid during the course of litigation. The following are some examples:
— Filing fee. The courts charge a fee for every new lawsuit that is filed. These fees very from between $150 to $400.
— Process server fees. Licenses process servers charge for every Summons or Subpoena that they serve on a person. Process servers generally charge about $60 for every document that is personally served on someone.
— Deposition costs. In order to properly investigate the facts of the case and to prepare for trial, the attorneys in a lawsuit will question the key witnesses in a process known as a deposition. Depositions are proceedings in which witnesses are questioned before a certified court reporter. The court reporter then transcribes the deposition into a bound written volume that can be used in trial. Depositions cost about $400 to $600.
— Medical records. Doctors and copy services charge fees to produce copies of the injured person’s past and current medical records.
— Physician testimony. Because doctors’ time is valuable they will generally charge between $500 to $700 per hour for their testimony at trial or deposition.
— Expert fees. In complex cases the attorneys may require experts to explain technical issues to the jury. For example, accident reconstruction professionals, often with an engineering or science background, may be retained to calculate the speed and mechanism that caused a motor vehicle crash.
Because all of the above costs increase the total amount of money paid by the injured client, an experienced personal injury attorney will attempt to settle the case before filing a lawsuit or at least soon after filing the lawsuit.