If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by someone else, you have the legal right in Massachusetts to pursue financial compensation for the injuries and damages you suffered. Regardless of what type of accident you were involved in (i.e., car accident, trucking accident or a slip and fall accident) seeking financial compensation is not easy and it costs money to do so. We are often asked what and how much the costs and expenses are in pursuing financial compensation in a personal injury case. The answer depends on a number of factors and are explained below.
The Basics of Personal Injury
In Massachusetts, anyone injured in an accident that was caused by another person(s) can seek monetary compensation for their injuries and financial losses. For example: If you are involved in a car accident because someone ran a stop sign and crashed into you and you broke your arm in the crash, you can file a personal injury claim against the other driver’s insurance company to seek a financial settlement to compensate you. You would have the burden of proving that the other driver was negligent and liable to you for your injuries. Also, you have to prove your damages, such as the cost of your medical treatment, any lost wages, and any permanent impairment or disability.
As we have written about before, sometimes a lawsuit must be filed to get the financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. This could be because the other driver or their insurance company deny that they were negligent and caused the accident; or because they dispute the extent of your damages and injuries. Either way, lawsuits are not uncommon with personal injury cases.
The Costs & Expenses of Your Personal Injury Case
With personal injury cases, our office accepts cases on a contingent fee. This means that our legal fee is contingent upon being successful in your case and obtaining a settlement or verdict. The legal fee will be a percentage of the gross settlement amount or verdict. Additionally, in personal injury cases we accept, our office will pay the costs and expenses of pursuing financial compensation for you up front as the expenses are incurred. We do this because we understand that when you are injured in an accident, you may be out of work and unable to earn money and have medical bills and other expense of your own that will be due. We are, however, entitled to be reimbursed for the costs and expenses that we paid for our clients up front from the settlement or verdict we obtain.
Typical Costs of a Personal Injury Claim
In cases where liability is established and the injury claim is able to be settled without the need to file a lawsuit, the costs and expenses usually include the costs of obtaining medical records and medical bills. Most medical providers, whether it is an ambulance, hospital, doctor’s office and/or physical therapy all require payment to obtain certified copies of medical records and bills. This can sometimes be costly. In the typical personal injury claim, the injured party may have been treated by four, five or even more medical providers.
For example, if you are injured in a car accident and an ambulance transported you to the hospital, you then followed up with your primary care doctor, were referred to an orthopedic doctor and then attended physical therapy, there are five medical providers. We would need to obtain all the medical records and bills from these providers.
The costs of obtaining these records and bills depend on the extent of treatment. If you were seen by a doctor in the emergency room and discharged the same day, the cost of obtaining the records and bills may range from $40 to $60, depended on what treatment you received. If, however, you spent days or weeks in the emergency or trauma department of a hospital after your accident and required emergency surgery, the cost will be much higher to obtain the records and bills. In one case we are handling now, our client fractured her hip in an accident and underwent an immediate partial hip replacement and spent more than a week in the hospital. The cost to obtain those medical records and bills was approximately $350.00.
Additionally, in some cases we may need to obtain a special report from our client’s treating physician or surgeon. These reports are referred to as a narrative report and generally explain how the injury occurred, the diagnoses, extent of treatment, the possibility of future treatment and any permanent or partial impairment or disability that results from the injury. Depending on the doctor or surgeon, these reports can range from $500 to $2,000. While this may seem expensive, these reports are usually very helpful in a personal injury claim.
Costs and Expenses of a Personal Injury Lawsuit
As discussed above, sometimes a lawsuit must be filed in Massachusetts to pursue financial compensation for injuries suffered in an accident. Lawsuits can be expenses to file and prosecute. There are numerous steps in the process of a personal injury lawsuit. Some of these different steps require certain payments to be made and are in addition to the costs and expenses for medical records, bills and reports discussed above.
For instance, there are filing fees that must be paid to initiate a lawsuit. The amount depends on what court your lawsuit is filed. The other costs and expenses incurred in a personal injury lawsuit include sheriff fees to serve the complaint and summons on the defendant, the costs of court reporters for depositions and transcripts, and the payment for expert witnesses and courtroom exhibits. Obviously, how many deposition and whether an expert is needed depends on the case.
Depending on the complexity of the case, number of witnesses and other factors, the costs and expenses of a lawsuit can range from $1,500 to $5,000. We offer to pay these expenses up front for our clients because we understand that being injured in an accident is stressful enough. But, we are reimbursed if we are successful in the case.
Have You Been Injured In An Accident? Get Legal Help Today
If you, or someone you know, have been injured in an accident a very important decision you can make right away is to seek advice from an experienced injury attorney. Mahaney & Pappas, LLP has represented hundreds of people hurt in accidents in Massachusetts. Call us at (508) 879-3500 or contact us online to schedule your free, no-obligation meeting and case evaluation. At our meeting we will explain your legal rights and options and answer all of your questions.