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Managing Lawyer Costs and Expenses in a Personal Injury Case

The median hourly fee for a medical expert witness to testify in personal injury cases is $500 an hour.

We all know legal expenses aren’t cheap, but can they be managed?

If you have suffered from injuries in an accident, it’s reasonable to worry about what pursuing a claim might cost, but the answer is yes!

Keep reading to learn more information about what to expect when it comes to the expenses of a personal injury lawsuit and how hiring an attorney can be affordable. 

Personal Injury Lawyer Costs vs Fees 

One of the most important things to understand about expenses in a personal injury case is the difference between costs and fees. While you might think that these terms are interchangeable, they aren’t when it comes to legal matters. Let’s take a look at each of these types of fees and expenses in more detail.

Lawyer Fees

When it comes to expenses in a personal injury case, fees refer to how much a personal injury lawyer charges someone to cover a case. Claims usually involve what are called contingency fees. A contingency fee is how much your attorney will charge as compensation for their work on your case.

Contingency fees are paid as a percentage of a settlement or award. When you first hire a lawyer, you will sign a fee agreement so you know what to expect when your case is resolved. Most importantly, contingency fees are only charged if your personal injury lawyer wins your case.

If they don’t win and you don’t receive a personal injury settlement or award, this results in you not having to pay them. If you’re wondering how this works, you’re not alone.

A Closer Look at Contingency Fees

With a contingency fee agreement, you don’t have to pay for legal expenses upfront. This is an excellent option for most victims of accidents because they simply can’t afford to front legal expenses. When you’re recovering from injuries in an accident, medical bills will pile up quickly and you may be out of work.

The last thing you can afford is the cost of a lawyer that may or may not win you any money in court. This is where contingency agreements with an attorney come in.

Personal injury attorneys understand the damages and circumstances their clients are in and are willing to pay costs up front and not levy clients’ fees unless they win them money.

Contingency fee agreements save clients money and incentivize attorneys to do a good job. After all, if a lawyer doesn’t win your case, they don’t get paid. And, the more attorneys win, the more they get paid.

Contingency fees are determined by a number of personal injury law factors including:

  • The law firm you choose
  • The state where the accident occurred
  • The circumstances of your case
  • The type of case
  • How much work is necessary
  • How much skills is required
  • The stage where your case is finalized
  • Applicable insurance policy limits
  • Other factors considered by the courts

These agreements often work on a sliding scale. This means that the percentage you pay a personal injury lawyer may increase or decrease depending on when your case is finalized.

For example, if you reach a settlement for your injuries without having to file a lawsuit, your contingency fee percentage may be lower. If your attorney has to file a lawsuit or take your case to trial, the percentage may be higher because more work is required.


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While fees refer to the money paid to your attorney for their work, costs refer to pretty much anything else. With a personal injury claim, your attorney will pay for legal costs upfront and you will reimburse them from your settlement or award when your case is won.

Here are some of the most common costs in personal injury cases:

Court Costs

If your case can’t be settled pre-litigation, you will have to pay court costs. These include:

  • The fee for filing the initial complaint
  • The daily stipend for jurors
  • Serving the defendant
  • Copies of court transcripts

Expert Witnesses

After attorney’s fees, expert witnesses are the most costly expense in personal injury cases. Expert witnesses often require a high rate per hour for their services which can include:

  • Reviewing your case
  • Preparing an expert report
  • Testifying in your trial

These service expenses can add up quickly, especially with complex cases that require the costs of multiple expert witnesses. 


Depositions involve taking the recorded testimony of witnesses prior to trial. You will have to pay for the cost of the stenographer and a copy of the final transcript.


Administrative costs include expenses like postage, copying, legal research, creating trial exhibits, and travel. The length of your case impacts how much you will pay in administrative costs. Hiring a good lawyer can speed up the legal process and save you money on costs. 

Investigating and Gathering Information

How much this will cost greatly depends on the circumstances of your case. You may incur expenses for gathering documents and information including medical records and police reports.

Your case may require special investigation and research that can be costly. This might even include hiring a private investigator.

Managing Personal Injury Lawsuit Costs and Fees

The bottom line is that the cost of a lawyer in a personal injury claim is well worth it for most people. Incurring costs is inevitable in all legal cases. The best thing you can do is make sure you have a clear understanding of what fees and costs you will incur when you hire a lawyer.

It’s also important to be reasonable. It’s best not to worry about costs because if your lawyer is experienced with personal injury cases, they know what they’re doing.

When it comes to fees, as long as you are on the same page from the start, there is nothing to worry about. Remember that your attorney will only take your case if they believe they can win and get paid. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What percentage do most personal injury lawyers take?

In Alabama, personal injury lawyers typically receive approximately 33% of the final settlement amount. 

How is settlement value calculated?

While there is no default settlement value formula you can use to find out your exact payout, there’s lots of information that can help you understand the settlement value of your case. You can add up estimated costs for your pain, suffering, medical bills, lost income, and much more to find your settlement value.

Are You Worried About Expenses in a Personal Injury Case?

If you’re worried about costs in a personal injury case, we want to talk to you and give you more helpful information.

The last thing you should be worried about is the cost of getting the compensation you deserve from your injuries and damages. That’s what our attorneys are here for.

Let a lawyer of ours do the work for you so that you can focus on recovering from your accident. We work on a contingency fee basis so if we don’t win, you don’t pay.

Want more information? Click here to contact our law office and schedule a free consultation with a lawyer today. 

Ready to work together? Contact us today for a free consultation.


If you or a loved one have been injured and think you might have a case, call us now for a free consultation.