There are many ways in which someone may take legal action against you, directly or indirectly, from breaking a contractual agreement to injuring you in a car accident. In such an event, you have the right to file a lawsuit to recover damages or expenses.
It can be difficult to understand what to do at this point, to understand if you have a case at all and if so, whether you should represent yourself in court or hire an attorney. If you are unsure whether or not a litigation attorney can help in your situation, the following will help you understand what you need to know.
What Is A Litigation Attorney?
Any properly licensed attorney can represent you in court; however, unlike other attorneys, litigation attorneys focus specifically on conducting trials, utilizing a subset of skills to achieve results for their clients.
Unlike other types of attorneys, litigation attorneys help clients file lawsuits with the expectation that they may be advocating on your behalf in court. For this reason, it is critical to the outcome of your case to choose an attorney with years of successful experience in litigation.
From the onset, a litigation attorney will provide an outline of the entire process, advise you about the aspects of your case and any issues you may face with it. An experienced litigation attorney will also help you determine whether the cost of the legal proceedings is worth the potential recovery.
This discussion may also cover the probability and benefit of whether your case may be able to be resolved outside of court which could save on some legal costs and can often lead to a faster resolution.
If your case is expected to go to court, a litigation professional can help you understand how to proceed, behave or moderate your expectations. It is important to remember that the litigation attorney you hire is working for your best interest. As their client, they represent you throughout the entire process.
Should I Consider A Litigation Attorney?
Whether a litigation attorney is necessary or not depends not only on the type of case you are prepared to file, but also on the details of that case. Although you may believe your set of circumstances are very clear, there are most likely details that a litigation attorney can see that can actually be less obvious yet more complex.
Some situations require litigation for recovering damages from car accidents, resolving contract disputes or managing the intricacies of a divorce may all require litigation where opposite parties present their cases in court.
An experienced litigation attorney will have represented plaintiffs and defendants; this gives them the advantage of knowing what to expect from either side. Having this experience can significantly benefit your situation, particularly in overcoming any obstacles which have been presented in other cases.
The Costs Of A Litigation Attorney
Employing the services of an attorney who specializes in litigation can be a wise choice for many situations. The average person lacks the full legal knowledge or necessary ability to represent themselves as expected in a court of law. Litigation is very expensive, and you should be prepared to discuss the payment amount and terms required to secure litigation representation for your case with any attorney you are considering.
Another factor that contributes to the overall financial burden of a litigation attorney and how you can pay it is how they charge their fees. Litigation attorneys charge their fees in different ways, such as:
- Hourly – Litigation attorneys almost always charge by the hour, especially for cases of significant complexity. A reputable attorney will always share with you their hourly rate before they start working. If paralegals or legal assistants are also working on your case, they may have different hourly rates; be sure to discuss this variability with the legal professionals whom you are considering. Cases that resolve quickly may be less expensive than expected, but be aware that litigation has the potential to stretch out through lengthy court hearings or even appeals, increasing the overall cost due to the number of hours worked.
- Contingency – If your attorney charges a contingency, this means that they do not require payment unless they win your case. Their payment is “contingent” upon winning your case; if they lose, they receive nothing. Once you win a case, you will be paid damages or compensation from the other party. A litigation attorney working on contingency will take a percentage of this compensation as their payment for representing you. This ensures that you will have the money to pay their fee. Be sure to read any agreements to understand what contingency fee you will be paying. These fees typically average around 40% of your final recovery amount, but some attorneys in challenging areas of law may charge more.
Litigation is an expensive process, and your attorney is not the only element that will add to the cost. In addition to expenses for your lawyer, be aware that you will also need to pay a variety of court fees and document costs.
Hiring experts will be an added cost if necessary, and that may increase if they are expected to testify to any evidence.
However, some of the more common attorney fees in a case that is being litigated are tied to discovery. Discovery is the process of gathering evidence and information for presentation at trial to build the argument. There are two components to the cost of discovery.
First, discovery can be the lengthiest period of a trial. The longer the discovery period, the greater the likelihood for more expenses. The discovery period can also increase the number of motions that either side may file. You will pay for any motions your attorney must file, and your attorney will be required to respond to the opposing parties motions which will increase your fees.
Expert witnesses who are being deposed (questioned under oath prior to trial) are compensated for their time, and the cost of this process must be considered “reasonable.” This means that the payment is based upon their individual factors, such as the level of education and typical income.
Similarly, you may need to rely on personnel to assist during discovery; this could include hiring an investigator to secure evidence or information. On average, these individuals will charge for their services, all of which are used to build your case before it ever reaches the courtroom.
While litigation is undeniably expensive, the expertise of an attorney who focuses on this area provides critical advantages. A skilled attorney will understand the benefit of keeping this process moving as quickly as possible to reduce the investment of time.
They may also facilitate settling the case outside of court, which can end the lawsuit quickly and result in compensation that you feel is justified for the situation. Overall, a litigation attorney will achieve a far better result than you could on your own.
Trust The Legal Professionals To Help You Navigate The Litigation Process
While it is permitted for you to represent yourself in court, it is not recommended. Instead, take advantage of the years of experience of a competent litigation attorney who is familiar not only with the legal proceedings but also with the other legal parties involved in the case.
The professionals at KPPB LAW would be happy to help you understand whether or not you have a case and how to proceed to litigation or settlement outside of court. Contact KPPB LAW to schedule a consultation or to ask any questions that you may have about the process.