Fees and Costs
The lawyer will charge you for the costs of your case as well as the fees. You will be responsible for paying these costs even if your case is not successful. Costs can add up quickly. It is a good idea to ask the lawyer for a written estimate of what the costs will be. You can tell your lawyer that costs over a certain amount have to be approved by you in advance.
Here are some typical costs:
- Certified shorthand reporters' charges for taking down testimony at depositions and trials and for providing written transcripts of that testimony.
- Copying and facsimile (fax) costs. These are usually charged on a per page basis. Lawyers also may charge for secretarial time spent on these tasks and telephone charges.
- Experts and consultants' charges. These costs generally relate to any time spent evaluating the case and testifying in court.
- Filing fees, which are required by courts before they will accept legal papers.
- Investigators' bills. Investigators may help gather facts related to the case. They usually charge by the hour and may bill for expenses such as mileage, meals and lodging as well.
- Jury fees and mileage costs. These are paid to jurors in civil cases in amounts set by law. The party requesting the jury must pay these expenses in advance.
- Postage, courier and messenger costs for mailing, shipping or personally delivering documents to you or others involved in your case.
- Service of process fees charged by individuals who locate parties and witnesses and deliver legal papers to them.
- Staff time for secretarial services, including overtime, word-processing time, etc.
- Telephone bills for long distance calls.
- Travel expenses for the lawyer when he or she travels on the client's behalf. These charges can include gasoline, mileage, parking fees, meals, airfare and lodging.
- Witness fees and mileage charges. The individuals who testify at depositions and trials receive fees in amounts set by law. You also may need to pay travel expenses if a witness must be brought in from far away.
Your lawyer may charge you for other costs as well. Make sure you understand all of the costs for which you will be responsible. Ask the lawyer if you will have to pay such costs directly or if you will be reimbursing the lawyer for such costs paid on your behalf.
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