Costs of a Court Trial in a Personal injury Case

No one likes the thoughts of having to make a court appearance, especially if they think they’re going to be questioned by a cold-hearted, aggressive attorney who is going to try to make them look like the biggest liar on the planet. Then there’s the expense of hiring a lawyer to represent your best interests. What will the cost be? Let’s say you’ve been injured in a road accident in Oregon, and you aren’t getting any satisfaction from the insurance company, in spite of the fact that you are positive it was the other driver’s fault. Should you consider going to a reputable firm of Portland personal injury lawyers, or should you fight the battle yourself and take your chances?

There are a very large number of reasons why getting a lawyer on board is a very good idea indeed.

Insurance Companies Don’t Like Trials – They are Expensive

Putting your initial fears about confrontation in a court of law to one side, it’s very important to remember that going to trial costs the insurance companies a great deal of money. The costs for them to hire counsel that is not based in-house is just one of the reasons insurance companies prefer to settle out of court. Whereas if you’ve managed to find a team of experienced Portland personal injury lawyers who will take your case on a “no win, no fee,” also known as a contingency basis, your exposure to court costs has been reduced to nothing if your case doesn’t succeed. The insurance companies, on the other hand, will be faced with bills like these:

  • Outside counsel costs of anything from $100 to $300 per hour. With trials capable of running upwards of 50 to 60 hours, the insurance companies can start by facing a cost of anything from $5,000 up to $20,000, win or lose!
  • Expert witness testimony may be required by the insurance companies to fight their case. In some cases, multiple witnesses will be needed to testify as to injuries (medical professionals), lost income or wages (accountants or actuaries), or the condition of cars or products (engineers). These experts can cost the insurance companies several thousand dollars each.
  • Documentation costs are considerable. Lawsuits that end up in court require transcription, copying and delivery. The cost of hiring a court reporter to take depositions, plus making copies of reports that can run to hundreds if not thousands of pages, then getting those documents delivered to various locations all add up to a very hefty number.
  • Court and filing fees are not outrageously high when costed separately, but they add up over the course of a trial and can mount up to anything as high as $1,000.
  • Travel and accommodation costs can be considerable, if lawyers or witnesses representing the insurance companies need to fly, stay in a hotel for the duration of the trial, or rent a car.

Taking all these things into consideration, it becomes quite clear why an insurance company would rather settle out of court. While it’s impossible to say what the “average” cost of a court case is, since no two lawsuits are alike, it would be more than fair to say that a “cheap” court case will cost an insurance company a minimum of $10,000 to $15,000, and it would not be at all unusual in a complex case for their costs to rise above $100,000.

If insurance companies don’t like going to trial, why do I need a personal injury lawyer?

If insurance companies are so eager to settle out of court, you may ask yourself why you need the services of Portland personal injury lawyers in the event of an Oregon accident. The answer is simply that once an insurance company knows a legal team is involved, if they refuse to settle, they know for certain they will end up in court and face the costs outlined above.

Hiring a lawyer on a contingency basis is, in every sense of the phrase, a “can’t lose” scenario for the plaintiff. A good personal injury lawyer will have been through the process countless times and will be able to represent the injured party’s best interests right up to and, if necessary, through a trial, if the insurance company does decide to fight.

They will also be able to give expert advice, from the very beginning of the process, as to the strength and validity of your claim. Let’s face it, lawyers operating on a contingency basis will not want to take on a case they are likely to lose, because then they won’t get paid. Without a lawyer to make your case, however, the insurance companies are far more likely, based on every statistic available, to deny claims, delay payment of settlements and even to defend the case in the hopes that an individual representing himself will not want to go to trial.

Experienced Portland personal injury lawyers get results. They can tell you from the beginning the likely outcome of your case and how much compensation you can expect to receive. Insurance companies respond far more quickly and with much fairer settlement offers once a personal injury attorney becomes involved. The truth of the matter is, hiring a personal injury lawyer, far from being expensive, will almost undoubtedly save you money in the pursuit of compensation.