People who are involved in personal injury accidents often have financial issues. Medical bills pile up. Work is missed and wages lost. There is even more than the usual uncertainty about the future, and thus people are reluctant to put any of their savings at risk.
So, one question that I hear almost every week as a Nashville injury attorney is "what happens if the case is lost?" Here is the best answer I can share.
First, our office usually works on a contingent fee in personal injury and wrongful death cases.. So, in the even we are unable to win your case you will no owe us any money whatsoever. (Our fee agreement is in writing, and thus you will have a full understanding of the fee agreement with us and what obligations you have.)
Second, you almost certainly will not have had to pay the attorney’s fees for the other side in the lawsuit. The general rule in this country is that each person or company involved in a lawsuit is responsible for its own attorney’s fees. There are exceptions to that rule, and if your particular type of case involves or might involve one of those exceptions your lawyer will advise you of that. But, in the typical personal injury or wrongful death case you only have to worry about paying the other side’s attorney’s fees if your case is determined to be "frivolous."
Third, it is possible that you may have to pay some expenses (not attorney’s fees) incurred by your opponent. Tennessee has a rule that permits the shifting of costs such as some court reporter expenses and some costs of experts to the losing party. These expenses can be several thousands of dollars. The expenses are called "discretionary costs" because they are awarded in the discretion of the court.
The bottom line is that the vast majority of cases are settled and thus at the end of the day each party involved in a lawsuit is responsible for its own attorneys fees and expenses. When a case goes to trial or is dismissed but not settled, there is a risk that certain expenses incurred by the other side will be shifted to the losing party, but those expenses rarely include the opponent’s attorney’s fees.
The risk of having to pay even a few thousand dollars in expenses is yet another reason why you should search for an experienced injury attorney. We suggest that you read our legal guide to help you in finding the right attorney for your case. More questions? Call at 866-812-8787 or file out the Contact Form.