Free Consultation (800) 272-4080
Call Now (800) 272-4080

How Do I Pay a Medical Malpractice or Vehicle Accident Attorney for Time and Expenses?

Most medical malpractice and personal injury cases are handled on a contingency fee agreement. This is a fee arrangement where an attorney or firm agrees that the payment of legal fees will be contingent upon the successful outcome of the case. Typically, a contingency fee will be a percentage of the proceeds obtained by the client due to the litigation or settlement, or it may be the amount of attorney fees accrued but not billed to the client until the successful conclusion of the case.

The specific arrangements for a contingency fee case are stated in a fee agreement. You should always read the fee agreement or engagement letter carefully so you understand how you will be billed.

Our firm receives a percentage of the financial recovery made by the client as a result of the prosecution of the case. We generally don’t expect the client to pay any of the expenses of developing the case until a recovery is made.

What are Case-Related Expenses?

Expenses are reimbursed from the settlement. The costs incurred in a case aren’t included as part of the percentage set aside to the attorney as his or her fees. The case-related expenses are a sum that’s separate and apart from the attorney fee. The expenses incurred in pursuing the case are deducted from the settlement or judgment.

Practice standards in the code of professional responsibility by the American Bar Association and the Michigan State Bar Association provide that expenses are first subtracted from the settlement or judgment. Then, the balance of the settlement or judgment is the amount used to figure out the percentage paid to the attorney in fees.

Some typical types of costs in your case are:

  • Expert Witness Fees: An expert witness may be retained for the case, either to help prepare the case or to testify at trial; for example, this may a physician or other healthcare provider.
  • Deposition Fees: This is a part of discovery before trial where an attorney asks questions from a party, witness, or expert while he or she is under oath. A court reporter makes a verbatim record of the deposition. Usually the party who requests the deposition will pay the deposition costs of the transcriptionist and for the room if space is rented (usually, these are conducted at an attorneys’ office). Each party pays for their own attorney’s time at the depositions.
  • Filing Fees: These are fees required by courts before legal papers may be accepted.
  • Technology: This is the costs of video production and editing if needed. For example, this might be a video of an accident reconstruction.
  • Court Reporters’ Charges: These are certified shorthand reporters’ charges for testimony at depositions and trials and for transcripts of the depositions.
  • Copying Costs: These are charges typically per page.
  • Investigator Charges: Investigators may collect information and evidence related to the case.
  • Postage, Courier, and Messenger Costs: These are expenses for mailing, shipping, and delivering documents, such as via FedEx and USPS.
  • Service of Process Fees: These fees are charged by companies that locate parties and witnesses and deliver legal papers to them.
  • Telephone Charges: Fees for long-distance and conference calls related to the litigation.
  • Travel Expenses: These are expenses for fuel, mileage, parking, meals, transportation (airfare or rail), and lodging incurred by the attorney when traveling on a client’s behalf.


When choosing a personal injury legal team, find one who’s compassionate and committed to your needs and goals. Call an experienced, empathetic litigator who will fight for your rights at Buchanan Firm. We offer a free consultation and will thoroughly listen and provide answers.

Our firm proudly serves people all across Michigan, including major cities like Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Detroit, Lansing, Holland, St. Joe, and Ann Arbor, and rural towns such as Lowell, Ada, Fremont, Newaygo, Grand Haven, Rockford, and Cedar Springs. We will meet you after hours, at home, or in the hospital to accommodate you.

Contact us today.