To be truly viable, your personal injury claim needs to be worth the cost of pursuing damages. Some of those costs—such as attorney fees—are contingent upon winning, but others may prevent you from recovering personal injury damages if they are higher than your case is actually worth.
The cost of a personal injury claim depends on a number of factors, but there are some common expenses to keep in mind.
Common Personal Injury Claim Costs
Some of the most common personal injury costs include those listed below. These are costs that could offset the value of your case, particularly if it goes to court.
If your case goes to court, you’ll have a number of fees to pay. These fees may include:
- Fees for filing a complaint
- Serving papers to the defendant
- Paying jurors (if the case becomes a jury trial)
- Obtaining a copy of the transcript from court proceedings
It’s worth noting that court fees vary by the type of case. If you have questions, it’s usually best to contact an attorney in your jurisdiction.
Administrative expenses such as making copies of documents, travel, postage, legal research, and so on may also factor in. Simpler cases usually won’t cost too much in this regard, but if it’s a lengthy court trial that takes months (or even years) to resolve, administrative fees can reach into the thousands.
Any case that goes to court will very likely require an expert witness. This is because you’ll likely need to demonstrate highly technical concepts to prove your case. Finding someone who is knowledgeable about the topic—and recognized as such—explain things in a way that a jury can understand can be difficult, and expert witnesses usually carry a high price tag. Tens of thousands of dollars isn’t an uncommon cost where expert witnesses are concerned.
A deposition is a sworn testimony put on record, but outside of any trial setting. Costs here include paying a stenographer for their time recording the testimony and making a copy of the resulting transcript. A few hundred dollars is fairly common for deposition costs.
Some records, such as police reports, medical records, and the like, are free, making them inexpensive to obtain. On the other hand, hiring a private investigator to gather information for your case can get expensive.
Attorney Fees for Personal Injury Cases
Aside from the costs of personal injury court cases, attorney fees may also apply. Typically, lawyer fees are contingent upon you winning your case, and those may be payable by the defendant. However, it may still be worth considering when evaluating your case.
Is Your Personal Injury Case Worth the Cost?
In complex cases that go to court, you could be facing a few hundred thousand dollars in overall costs. Even if you don’t take your claim to court, the cost of research, depositions, and attorney fees could still make a difference in whether your claim is actually viable.
The best way to determine whether your case is worth the cost is to talk to a personal injury attorney. If you live in Illinois, Hart David Carson LLP can evaluate your case with a free consultation, so contact us if you have been injured in an accident.