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09 Apr

Navigating Trial Costs: Understanding Fee Changes When a Case Goes to Court

The decision to take a personal injury case to trial is one marked by numerous considerations, both from a strategic and a financial perspective. At SELPH LAW, our commitment to transparency extends to clear communication about how legal fees may change if your case proceeds to trial. This article aims to explain why fees increase in the event of a trial and how these adjustments reflect the additional resources and efforts required to secure a favorable outcome in court.

The Contingency Fee Model and Trials
Primarily, personal injury attorneys, including those at SELPH LAW, operate on a contingency fee basis. This means our clients do not pay upfront fees; instead, our payment is contingent upon winning the case, usually a pre-agreed percentage of the settlement or award. This model aligns our interests with those of our clients and ensures access to legal representation without the burden of immediate financial strain.

However, when a case transitions from negotiation to trial, the complexity, workload, and costs associated with pursuing justice increase significantly. Consequently, our contingency fee percentage may see a slight adjustment to account for these factors. Here’s why:

The Increased Demands of Trial Preparation
Extensive Preparation: Trial preparation involves a comprehensive review of the case, including gathering and organizing evidence, preparing witness testimonies, and developing a persuasive legal strategy. This process is time-intensive and requires a higher level of resource allocation.

Expert Witnesses: Often, trials necessitate the involvement of expert witnesses to testify on medical issues, accident reconstruction, or other relevant matters. Securing and compensating these experts is a necessary cost that increases as we strive to strengthen your case.

Additional Legal Filings: The trial process involves numerous legal filings, motions, and procedural steps that are not typically part of pre-trial negotiations. Each of these steps demands additional attorney time and expertise.

Transparent Communication About Fee Adjustments
Understanding that financial considerations are paramount for our clients, SELPH LAW is committed to ensuring that any adjustments to our fees are communicated clearly and agreed upon well in advance of trial proceedings. These adjustments are detailed explicitly in our client contracts, ensuring there are no surprises:

Upfront Discussion: We discuss the possibility of trial and associated fee adjustments early in our relationship, allowing our clients to make informed decisions about their legal strategy.
Informed Consent: Any change in fees due to the decision to proceed to trial is made with full transparency and the informed consent of our client. This is formalized in a revised agreement that details the adjusted contingency fee percentage.

The Value of Representation in Trial
While the prospect of increased fees may seem daunting, the value of experienced legal representation during a trial cannot be overstated. A trial presents the opportunity to secure compensation that fully reflects the extent of your injuries and losses, often beyond what might be offered in a settlement. With SELPH LAW, you have a team equipped to navigate the complexities of trial litigation, committed to advocating for your rights and interests in court.

The decision to take a personal injury case to trial is significant, encompassing both strategic considerations and financial implications. At SELPH LAW, our priority is to provide our clients with the highest level of representation, backed by clear and honest communication about all aspects of their case, including potential fee adjustments for trial proceedings. We are dedicated to ensuring that our clients are fully informed and comfortable with every step of the legal process, from initial consultation to courtroom advocacy. If you have any questions about how legal fees work or what to expect should your case go to trial, we encourage you to reach out to us for more information.

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