If you are involved in an injury case and you are considering to work with an attorney, you might want to choose whether to work with experienced attorneys in a big law firm. So, does it cost more to work with a big law firm in an injury case?
A big law firm charges its clients by the hour but for complicated cases that involve various skilled expertise, their level of fulfillment is worth it. If you are looking for representation in an injury case and your current representation feels inadequate, it is worth it to work with a big law firm despite the cost.
The cost may include expenses to represent you in litigation. The most common costs when working with a big law firm include:
- Cost for doing investigation and gathering information
- Expert witness fees
- Administrative costs
Let us look in-depth at these costs to work with a big law firm in an injury case:
Cost for doing investigation and gathering information
This expense will not be more in most cases as medical records and police records will be obtained for free, or for a small fee. However, it may be necessary that special investigation or research be done in an injury case. This would require the hiring of a private investigator or sending a specialist to conduct research in-person. So, this would make the cost significant, including gathering information by an expert for a big law firm.
Expert Witness Fees
This cost can be significant in a big law firm for an injury case. An expert witness may be called in to review your case to give you an upper hand in the case. He or she will prepare an expert report and testify at trial. The cost can be about several hundred dollars an hour. If a case is complex, the cost may rise as several expert witnesses may be required to be called in to testify in a trial.
Typically, any injury case that goes into a trial will require at least one expert witness. Take into consideration that injury cases require plaintiffs to present technical evidence as to the cause of injury. An average person wouldn’t know how to do that, and court rules don’t allow just anyone to testify about any subject.
For example, if you are injured due to a medical malpractice, you need to explain to the court:
- How the medical professional acted negligently
- How the conduct of the medical professional caused your injury
A judge or jury wouldn’t give much credit when a non-medical professional explain this for you. That’s why a big law firm would hire an expert witness in the form of another medical professional in that field to explain this for you.
Court rules don’t give much credit to testimonies from someone who is not an expert, and a non-expert testimony can distract the jury, cause confusion, or spread misinformation.
Very few people qualify to be an expert witness because of the credential requirements, and have the ability to explain complex and scientific concepts in a simple manner everyone understands. So, you see why it can cost more to work with a big law firm when they hire an expert witness, because it can be necessary to hire an expert witness.
All cases in the courts require some administrative costs to be met, for example; traveling, presenting trial exhibits, legal research, and postage. Administrative costs won’t be much in a simple injury case with few document-based pieces of evidence — perhaps less than a few hundred dollars. But a big law firm is preferred in handling litigation in an injury case that potentially will last several years. In such a case, administrative expenses can reach a thousand dollars.
It Helps to Have the Cost Agreement in Writing
A written agreement will be handy in case a disagreement occurs later about who gets how much after a litigation in an injury case is concluded in your favor. Laws in many states require you and the law firm to do so. Both you and the law firm should sign a written agreement. It should be made to reflect any specific arrangements you have made with a law firm.
The agreement addresses costs, including expenses of conducting negotiations, and an injury lawsuit.
You may find it difficult to pay a big law firm on an hourly basis through the entire pursuit of an injury claim. So, a big law firm that takes on an injury case can develop an alternative payment model whereby you pay no money to begin the case. Instead, the cost will be deducted as a percentage of the final litigation payment.
This arrangement is called a contingency fee agreement. It shows a law firm is taking a risk and that you are not paying anything upfront. In deciding whether to work on a contingency basis with a big law firm in an injury case, consider whether the economics of your injury case makes it worthwhile.