Will Going To Trial Affect The Overall Cost Of The Personal Injury Process As Well As My Settlement?
Personal injury trials are expensive. The average cost of going to trial for a personal injury case is between $20,000 and $40,000.
In the State of Florida, whoever loses a case will be held accountable for the opposing party’s legal costs and fees. We never sue our clients. If they cannot pay, we usually demand to the court that they cannot pay.
There are several options for financing a case you cannot afford on your own. Some financers finance cases on a no-recourse basis. This means that they front the costs for the trial, and if you lose the case entirely, the financer will “eat” the cost–i.e., will not demand to be reimbursed. However, with those same entities, if you win the case, they usually charge much more than a bank might charge to finance the same case. This also means that if you win the case but don’t get a lot of money, the financer takes a good deal of it, and both the attorney and the client can be out a significant amount of money (since many attorneys are paid on contingency of the results of a case).
So, there are many ways to finance a case. If I take on a case, I usually front the cost of the case if it’s not financed by another financier or by the client themselves. However, there are certain cases that I do not accept the costs for and do require financing outright from my client or a financier. For instance, I cannot front the $20,000-$30,000 for a standard slip-and-fall case if I evaluate the case and do not believe I would be fully compensated.
What Are Some Mistakes That You’ve Seen, People Who Have Been Injured And Are In The Personal Injury Recovery Process, Them Make That Could Potentially Reduce Their Settlement Offer Or Ruin The Chance Of Getting Any Settlement At All?
There are a number of mistakes that commonly get made here. I advise my clients that they should always be totally honest about all of their injuries, whether they be injuries resulting in the claim/lawsuit or not.
For example, let’s say a client had their neck hurt in an auto crash, and claims they never had neck problems before. If the defense finds out that, actually, the client had seen a chiropractor or orthopedist or other neck-related specialist, and asks the client about that under oath, it could completely destroy the client’s case. It is far better for them to be honest from the outset. In this specific example, the client could have argued that while they did have pre-existing neck problems, the accident exacerbated or increased their problems.
As another example, let’s say a claimant had a back injury from 10 years prior to a wrongful injury. After the first injury, they recovered, and no doctor told them they needed surgery or additional interventions. After the injury, their doctor tells them they need surgery. This is what is known as a “severe exacerbation of a pre-existing injury.” If a client is honest with us about the first injury, we are able to investigate the doctors who treated them for that injury, and show that those doctors had verified that they were recovered and would not need additional surgeries or treatment. This strengthens the client’s argument that the injury caused their post-injury condition, rather than weakening or even destroying it.
Another thing to be honest about is fault. Make sure to tell your attorneys everything you know about your accident, even if there is a possibility that you were partially at fault. If you were at fault (partially or totally), it will be found out. This will destroy a personal injury claim, even if you were indeed injured in the accident. If you were partially responsible and your attorneys know this from the outset, it is possible that they will be able to argue for a partial settlement. If they are blindsided by your fault, this is much harder to do, if not impossible.