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What expenses are involved in bringing a personal injury claim?

There are a variety of potential expenses involved in bringing your personal injury claim. Many big law firms over charge their clients for these expenses. They use this as an opportunity to jump their percentage recovered from 33% to upwards of 40% of the gross settlement.


The medical expenses for a typical auto accident case pre-litigation usually amount to $150.00 or less. This is especially true if you went to only 2-3 providers and had relatively simply injuries. If your firm is charging you over $200 for medical expenses for a case like this, ask to see a complete itemization. There is a good chance they are using the opportunity to cover more of their expenses than they are allowed.


At The Gerring Law Firm, we usually waive the expenses on most smaller bodily injury claims. Our clients see a direct benefit to this as those sums are directly added to their net recovery. Our low overhead allows us to have a competitive advantage over other firms who must creatively seek ways to cover their high monthly expenses.


The most common expense pre-litigation is for medical records. Per Missouri statute (RSMO 191.227, medical providers may charge a base fee of $25.34 plus $0.58 per page for the cost of labor and supplies for copies provided in paper form and $23.72 for additional records if they are maintained off-site. The maximum fee providing copies electronically is $25.34 base fee plus $0.58 per page or $111.03 total, whatever is less, for copies provided electronically.


At The Gerring Law Firm we make records requests utilizing a federal law that supersedes the Missouri statute. This allows us to obtain medical records at a significantly less cost than most other firms. We send out what is called a HITECH medical records request. This request is a letter, signed by the client during intake, that asks the medical provider to send the records to our firm electronically. The medical provider can charge a base fee for responding to this request but cannot charge by the page. This produces a significant savings as even a minor emergency room trip produces 50-80 pages of records (at $0.58 per page!).


If a lawsuit is filed, the expenses of your case will increase in cost and variety. Attorney’s fees move from 33% to 40% of any gross settlement recovered. The Court where the lawsuit is filed in will require a filing fee in order to process the lawsuit. In the Saint Louis County Circuit Court this fee is $107.98. In the Federal Eastern District Court for Eastern Missouri this fee is $400! In addition to the filing fee, you must have to pay to serve the Defendant. Most process servers charge around $60.00; however, this expense could be more if there is difficulty locating the Defendant.


Bringing a case to trial requires that the parties to the depositions are brought in to give testimony. At depositions, lawyers hire court reporters to make a transcript of what was said. The court reporters charge a fee for their time typing up what was said and creating a transcript. Many depositions are now videotaped, something that can add additional costs.


Depending on your case, you may need to hire an expert to meet your burden of proof. If you retain an expert, they can charge you not only for the time spent reviewing material and creating a report, but also for their time at court and depositions. Missouri law states that the party seeking to know the testimony of an expert must pay those depositions costs. This means that if the other side hires an expensive expert, you are likely on the hook to pay their deposition bill if you want to know what they will testify to in advance of trial.


There are many more expenses that could come in to play, depending on the facts of your case. If you have disputed liability, there is a possibility that you will need to hire an accident reconstruction specialist. These are not cheap. If your injury requires the testimony of an economic expert, you will have to pay for these services as well.



The Gerring Law Firm, Stephen Gerring, Personal Injury Lawyer, Best Personal Injury Lawyer Saint Louis, Personal Injury Lawyer Saint Louis, Best Attorney Car Accident
Court reporters are a highly important part of the personal injury process. They are worth every penny.

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