Determining the case costs for a personal injury case is far from a clear cut calculation. There are variables that can occur throughout the life of the case, such as the expense of expert discovery and trial that can add up quickly. Before your client finds themselves in the midst of an expensive jury trial take the time to look into the future and estimate or evaluate how the case costs will increase as the case moves towards trial.
- Basis of Your Fees. Before you even begin the process, know whether or not you are willing to take the case on a contingency fee basis. If so, be prepared to advance significant case costs. If your client insists upon going to trial over settling, the costs can get significantly more expensive. Make sure your client understands how litigating the case and the associated costs will affect their ultimate recovery.
- What can your client expect to net? Its a good idea to go over potential settlement scenarios looking at a worst case, average, or excellent outcome. When looking at each potential outcome, make sure you consider how much the litigation costs can increase if the case if forced through expert discovery or trial. When working towards a net recovery amount make sure you factor in attorney fees, costs, unpaid medical bills and liens.
- Effects of Discovery on Expenses. As the litigation process advances, you should plan to account for the costs associated with hiring expert witnesses. Retaining an expert witness is expensive, and the longer the trial progresses, the more costly they become. If you decide, during the discovery process, that expert testimony will be necessary to your client’s case, you will want to make sure you budget accordingly.
Rate the Risks of Trial. Make sure that your client understands that, if a jury is necessary, the jurors may not award the full amount that he or she is requesting. Jurors can be unpredictable. It is imperative that your client understands the risks before marching to a jury verdict.
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