How To Budget for
a Personal Injury Case
Suffering a personal injury can leave you facing medical bills, insurance claims, lost wages from missing work. Filing a personal injury lawsuit with an experienced and reputable lawyer may be your best option to get a settlement and handle these bills. However, it's important to realize that personal injury attorneys require payment, too. Understanding fees, costs, and how your lawyer will charge you is an important first step in your personal injury case.
Costs v. Fees
You may think costs and fees are synonymous, but not in matters of litigation. A fee is money you pay for a lawyer's services. The lawyer may charge hourly, a flat fee, or a contingency fee. A contingency fee is most common for personal injury cases and requires you to pay nothing until a settlement is reached. After you receive your compensation, you may pay the attorney anywhere from 33% to 40% of the settlement. A lawyer may use a 'sliding scale' where you pay less if the case was settled before going to court.
Costs are anything extra outside of the personal injury lawyer. There are administrative costs for things like postage and photocopying, investigation costs for obtaining medical records and other information, travel costs, expert witness costs, and more. You need to weigh the costs versus the potential benefits before choosing to hire a personal injury attorney. If you have a relatively small case, you may want to handle it on your own and take it to a small claims court.
Keeping Costs Down
The most significant costs are associated with trials. The good news is that around 95% of all personal injury cases are settled before a trial actually takes place, according to The Law Dictionary. The bulk of your costs, then, will be associated with depositions and expert witness testimonies that take place in the pre-trial phase of a lawsuit. Depositions are the official record of what occurred during the incident that caused your injury. Expert witnesses are usually the medical professionals who took care of your injury and can attest to the pain, suffering, and medical bills you are facing that necessitated a lawsuit in the first place. They are both crucial parts of your case, and you need to be prepared for the inevitable costs they bring.
For more information on costs associated with a personal injury case, contact The Law Offices of Steven Zwick. Visit their site for a comprehensive list of the types of personal injury cases they handle, as well as records of previous cases and how much was won for their clients.