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What Are Some of the Costs and Expenses of a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Costs and expenses of a personal injury lawsuit are broken down into two main categories: the fees you pay your lawyer, and the costs of investigating and pursuing your case, including medical assessments, known as “disbursements,” which are paid out of pocket as the case goes along.

The first type of expense is the legal fee, typically charged as a percentage of the compensation that is recovered for you, which is called a contingency fee. This means that the lawyer essentially partners with you in funding the litigation, by agreeing to accept a percentage of the damages recovered by settlement or adjudication. A contingency fee agreement is made through negotiation between the client and the lawyer.

The actual percentage charged does vary depending on the circumstances of your case, but before your case begins, Sharpe Beresh & Gnyś will give you an idea what the range is for the percentage that will be charged. We can also charge you on an hourly basis, and we will make that decision together if/when you become a client of our law firm.

While fees can be charged on a contingency basis (meaning that if you win, we as your lawyers win, but if you lose, we also lose), disbursements remain your sole responsibility to pay. You may be required to assist in paying the disbursements incurred from time to time, as your case proceeds. If you cannot pay your retainer in full, a payment schedule can be set up and in some cases, we can arrange for a litigation loan to finance your lawsuit. In some cases, the retainer can be waived entirely.

Disbursement expenses can accrue through any/all of the following:

◦ Obtaining motor vehicle accident reports
◦ Acquiring medical documents such as ambulance and hospital records
◦ Obtaining expert opinions including medical legal reports
◦ Other administrative costs
◦ Court costs incurred when the defendant(s) is sued by the issuing of a statement of claim or court documents 
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Fortunately, when we are dealing with an insurance company that represents the party you are suing, it is common that repayment of expenses incurred in developing your case will be paid by the insurer. In a successful case, the majority of these disbursements will be recovered from the insurance company at the time your case is settled.

Additionally, lawyers have to charge 13% HST, which is applied to their fees and to certain disbursements.

The information provided here is intended only to be a brief description of the expenses associated with a lawsuit. A longer, more detailed version of expected expenses will be fully provided to you via a Contingency Fee Retainer, which is explained to you when you become a client of our law firm.

Sharpe Beresh & Gnyś has the answers to your questions about personal injury.
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