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What Does it Cost to Hire a Lawyer on a Personal Injury Claim


What Does it Cost to Hire a Lawyer on a Personal Injury Claim

Hiring a lawyer in a personal injury claim is generally done by way of a contingency fee arrangement. This means that the law firm agrees to take your claim on a percentage of the amount received by way of settlement or an award at trial. The amount of contingency fees generally ranges from 30% to 33.3% of the amount received. The benefit to the client is they do not have to come up with money to pay legal fees at a time when they may not be able to afford that expense. It also shifts the risk of payment to the lawyer in that if the lawyer is unsuccessful in presenting your claim, they will not receive payment for their efforts. On the other hand if the lawyer is successful in obtaining a higher settlement or award for damages the lawyer will be compensated based on the percentage of the amount received.

In order to conduct a lawsuit there are certain expenses that are incurred which have nothing to do with legal fees. These expenses are generally called disbursements and over the course of a lawsuit they can amount to a large sum of money. Some examples of disbursements would be the following:

  • Filing fees paid to the Courts to commence a lawsuit or to bring applications.
  • Court fees for hearing days should the matter proceed to trial.
  • Obtaining records and documents from doctors or other medical providers such as chiropractors or physiotherapists.
  • Obtaining medical reports from doctors.
  • Obtaining written expert reports from experts such as engineers, vocational consultants, occupational therapists and labour economists.
  • Day to day expenses such as postage, courier fees, long distances charges and miscellaneous expenses which occurred during the course of a lawsuit.

Lawsuits can take years to complete in order to allow the injured parties to have the time to heal and to allow for proper assessment of their claim. Depending on the number of experts hired the disbursements and expenses incurred can amount to tens of thousands of dollars.

Depending on the claim, Morelli Chertkow will often agree to fund the lawsuit expenses and in that situation Morelli Chertkow would pay all of the disbursements in advance for the client on the understanding that the client is ultimately responsible for the payment of those disbursements, together with interest.

If your claim is successful there will be either a settlement or an award of damages made at trial. In both instances there is generally also an award made for court costs. Part of the court costs includes the disbursements which were incurred in order to conduct the lawsuit and usually, interest on these disbursements. In most instances all of the disbursements will be paid as part of the costs awarded but not in all cases for some of the disbursements at the end of the claim.

If you have been injured in an accident call a Morelli Chertkow Lawyer for a free consultation. If you are going to retain a lawyer to represent you, take time to review the Contingency Fee Agreement which will form the basis of your obligations to pay legal fees and disbursements. Ask your lawyer questions about anticipated disbursements and an explanation of what court costs consist of.

Leigh Pedersen