The litigation of certain types of personal injury and wrongful death cases, particularly medical malpractice, products liability, and tractor-truck cases, can be very expensive. Most Tennessee personal injury and Tennessee wrongful death lawyers are willing to work on a contingent fee, but there must be money available to finance the other expenses of litigation (court reporters, expert witnesses, demonstrative aids and exhibits, etc,)
A personal injury lawyer who accepts those cases for consumers must have the financial ability to advance money for those expenses because most consumers are unable to do so. Some lawyers are very under-capitalized, i.e., they lack the ability to adequately finance a case to completion. The lack of financial resources can affect the outcome of the case, because the lack of financial resources can impact the quality of expert witnesses the lawyer employs to assist in the case, the number of expert witnesses, the number of depositions that are taken (court reporters are paid to transcribe depositions, and they are expensive), the quality of demonstrative exhibits at trial, etc.
So how does a consumer evaluate this factor? It is very difficult. Most lawyers will not turn over their balance sheets to prove to you that they have the financial resources to finance the case. One way a client can gain information about this issue is by determining if the lawyer is asking the client to borrow money or pay interest on the money the lawyer borrows to finance case expenses. This indicates one of two things: either the lawyer lacks the ability to finance the case, or the lawyer has the ability to do so but is shifting the cost of financing case expenses to the client (which increases the total cost of hiring that lawyer and increases the lawyer’s profit).
If a lawyer asks you to borrow money to finance the case, make sure you understand the total cost of borrowing. Many of the companies who do financing for lawyers have charges in addition to interest that greatly increase the effective interest rate charged to the client.
Once again, the consumer must think about why they should hire a lawyer who refuses or lacks the ability to finance a case when there are highly-regarded lawyers who will finance the case at no extra cost to the client.
At Law Offices of John Day, P.C. we have never charged interest or required our clients to borrow money to pay case expenses. This means that the total cost of our legal representation is less that lawyers who charge the same contingent fee but also charge interest or force the client to borrow money for expenses.