In addition to seeking justice and holding someone accountable, filing a car accident lawsuit is about getting reimbursed for your medical bills and property repairs. When deciding if filing a lawsuit is worth it, you must look at how much the lawsuit will cost compared to how much you could potentially receive with a judgment award. Although every case is unique, here are some of the fees that you can expect while filing a car accident lawsuit in Missouri.
Claims Filing Fee
In all states, there is a fee associated with filing a lawsuit. This is to cover the expenses connected to processing a claim, as well as to discourage fraudulent or frivolous claims. Although it is subject to change at the court’s discretion, the fee to file a car accident lawsuit in Missouri is currently $20.00, plus a service fee. This fee is generally due at the time that you file your car accident lawsuit, unless you qualify for a fee waiver.
There may also be other fees imposed by the court for the duration of your car accident lawsuit. These include administrative fees, service fees, surcharges, a fee to serve the summons on the defendant, subpoena fees and printing fees. You may or may not be eligible for the reimbursement of your legal fees and court costs as the plaintiff of a car accident lawsuit. While it is possible for the courts to require a defendant to pay these costs as part of a jury verdict, this is not a guarantee.
To keep the price of attorney’s fees manageable, find a lawyer who operates on a contingency fee basis. This means that you won’t have to pay any fees upfront or out of pocket. With this payment arrangement, you will only pay your lawyer if he or she secures financial compensation on your behalf. If your lawyer wins your case, you will pay as a percentage of the settlement or judgment award achieved rather than being billed directly.
Hiring an attorney who works on a contingency fee basis can help you avoid paying a flat rate or hourly rate. Note that a contingency fee basis is only available to plaintiffs in a car accident lawsuit. If a defendant gets brought to court, he or she is responsible for paying for related costs. This is why most insurance companies are willing to negotiate settlements to avoid trials.
The Cost of Hiring an Expert
If your car accident case requires input or testimony from a subject matter expert, such as a crash reconstruction expert or medical expert, you will ultimately be responsible for paying for the expert as the plaintiff. Your lawyer may require these costs to be paid upfront or they may be taken out of your final award, depending on the law firm and your case.
The fee for experts can be steep. The average rate is around $350.00 per hour for an initial case review, and closer to $450 or $500 per hour to appear at depositions and car accident trials. Your attorney should be transparent about how much an expert charges and how you will pay for these fees before you proceed.
Is Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit Worth the Money?
The answer to this question depends on your case. It is free to file an insurance claim and accept an insurance settlement. Filing a lawsuit, however, could result in significantly more compensation for your car accident and related losses – even after you pay related fees. A car accident attorney in Kansas City can carefully review the elements of your case to determine if bringing a lawsuit is in your best interests financially. In some cases, filing a lawsuit can be well worth the time, effort and expense – especially if the attorney works on a contingency fee basis. Consult with an attorney from The Wendt Law Firm, P.C. to find out if filing a car accident lawsuit is the right choice for you.