gavel with legal documentsIf a person is injured in an accident that was caused by someone else, they have the right in Massachusetts to seek compensation through a personal injury claim or lawsuit. There are costs and expenses that must be covered to successfully recover compensation in a personal injury case. The types of expenses incurred and their amounts vary and depend on the specific circumstance of each injury case.

So, you may be thinking: What are the costs and expenses of a personal injury case? The answer is not simple, considering each case is unique with regard to injuries from an accident in Massachusetts. There are many aspects in each case that may necessitate the need to incur expenses. This article provides an overview of the costs and expenses of an injury case.

Uncomplicated Injury Cases Commonly Require Less Expense

Personal injury cases arise from all sorts of situations. There are motor vehicle accidents, construction accidents, slip and falls, dog bite cases, etc. Sometimes, these types of accidents are rather uncomplicated. For example, liability is usually clear in many rear-end car accidents. Also, in a rear-end crash, if the injuries are not too serious, the damages are fairly quantifiable. Thus, successfully pursuing and resolving these types of cases may not require expending a substantial amount of money.

In the most straightforward type of case, such as a rear-end car crash with soft tissue injury, the general expenses incurred are for the cost of obtaining medical records and bills. The records and bills are necessary when submitting a demand for settlement to the insurance company.  In many injury claims, these can run around $200 to $400, but depend on the number of medical providers that provide treatment. If the injuries are more severe, such as requiring surgical intervention, then expenses can increase considerably due to the increased volume of medical records and bills needed to support the injury claim.

For most of our clients who suffer serious injuries requiring surgery, additional expenses may include letters from physicians or specialists (referred to as medical narratives) outlining the extent of the injury suffered and any permanent loss of function or impairment by percentage. Most often, a medical narrative is essential in establishing a client’s injuries to an insurance company and/or a jury. Medical narratives can range from $750 to $2,500. Yes, they can be expensive, but they prove to be invaluable in determining the amount of compensation demanded and ultimately recovered.

Expenses Can Be Significantly More When Liability Is Disputed

For Massachusetts accident cases where the insurance company denies liability, the injured party has the option of pursuing financial compensation by way of a personal injury lawsuit. In the cases that require a personal injury lawsuit to be filed, various other expenses may be incurred in addition to the cost of obtaining medical records and bills.

The General Litigation Costs of a Lawsuit

When filing a lawsuit in a Massachusetts Court, there are, among other costs and expenses, the Complaint filing fees, sheriff fees, and stenographer fees for deposition costs. The amount of the filing fee depends on which Massachusetts Court the lawsuit is filed in and the number of parties involved. These typically range from approximately $200 to $300.

Additionally, during the discovery phase of litigation, the lawyers take depositions of the parties and witnesses involved in the case. The number of depositions taken obviously depends on how many people are involved in the case. The average deposition cost is in the ballpark of $300 - $500, but can, on occasion, be up to or over $1,000.

Sometimes, the parties agree to alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or arbitration. The mediations and arbitrations cost money and are usually split evenly between the parties.

Experts May Be Necessary to Prove an Accident Case

Many cases require an expert to prove a specific issue in dispute in a lawsuit or explain the degree of an injury. Sometimes, a case may require more than one expert. When fault is at issue in cases in Massachusetts, an expert may be necessary for the plaintiff to prove the defendant(s) was negligent. For example, in a trip and fall case, we’ve retained the services of a Premises Safety Expert to give his opinion as to the safety of a business establishment’s entrance. The initial expert’s fee for services was $3,000. The expert may demand additional fees if he is required to attend a deposition or testify at trial.  

In another case, we retained the services of mechanical engineers to conduct engineering analyses and inspections of a case requiring a vehicle accident reconstruction and vehicle component failures. Mechanical engineers and their evaluations, analyses, and reports can cost between $5,000 to $10,000, or more in some cases.

In addition, there are other types of experts that may be necessary to establish other matters in a personal injury case, such as damages. For example, we have hired medical experts, like neuro-spinal surgeons or orthopedic surgeons in cases where the injuries are complex. The medical experts’ testimony will assist a jury in understanding the injuries, surgeries, and any permanent impairment that may result from treatment. These medical experts may also be needed to author a medical narrative discussed in more detail above. Also, we have employed the services of an economist to determine the amount of lost wages and a plaintiff’s future lost earning capacity where the injuries prevented the plaintiff from returning to their employment.

Final Thoughts on Expenses of a Personal Injury Case

The anticipated expenses of an injury claim in Massachusetts that can be settled without the need to file a lawsuit are, most times, reasonable. A personal injury lawsuit, however, can be rather expensive. Regardless of how substantial the expenses and costs may be, many times, a person injured in an accident is incurring medical bills and sustaining lost wages from being unable to return to work right away. The last thing they need on their plate is to cover the costs and expenses of pursuing compensation and holding the negligent actor accountable.

Fortunately for our clients, expenses are covered by our law office as incurred. Though, we are entitled to reimbursement at the conclusion of the successful resolution of the claim or case. Depending on the specifics of each case, various experts and professional medical opinions may be needed to prove an issue in contention and the level of seriousness we take toward ensuring our clients get the maximum amount of compensation deserved.

Insurance companies have a huge amount of money to cover any costs of defending a lawsuit. You are at a significant disadvantage when fighting the insurance company. That is why, when you are seriously injured in an accident and are fighting to be fairly compensated, you need the right legal team at your side. You need Massachusetts personal injury lawyers that will hire the right experts and incur the necessary costs and expenses to get you the money you deserve.  

Charles S. Pappas
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Massachusetts injury lawyer & workers' compensation attorney serving accident victims in Webster & Framingham.