How are Legal Fees Different than Expenses?

Expenses are the hard costs that an attorney incurs during the preparation and prosecution of your case. These are commonly billed back to the client, and are in addition to the attorneys’ fees. Typical expenses in a case include:

  • Copies and faxes. Many firms track the number of the copies and faxes and charge per page to the client’s case. This is because some cases involve a large amount of documents as well as staff time to make copies and send faxes.

  • Postage. Standard postage costs are commonly charged to the client.

  • Courier fees. If documents must be delivered by courier, these fees are charged to the client.

  • Expert or consultant fees. Your case may require the expertise of another professional to best advocate for your position. In injury cases, these often include doctors, accident reconstructionists, and safety experts.

  • Filing fees. Courts usually require a filing fee be paid prior to initiating a court procedure.

  • Court reporter costs. If depositions are taken, a court reporter will generate a bill for his or her time and for copies of the deposition.

  • Witness subpoena fees. Local laws usually require the party requesting a witness to pay a standard fee.

  • Service of process fees. In order for the sheriff to serve the party with a lawsuit, a fee must be paid as well.

  • Long distance telephone charges.

  • Travel expenses. If the attorney or a member of his or her staff must travel to attend depositions or court hearings, mileage costs and hotel expenses are usually charged to the client.

  • Medical records. Your case may require certified copies of medical records from the hospital or treating physicians. There is usually a cost in obtaining these.

Legal fees are most commonly used to describe the fees paid to the attorney for his/her time and effort. Fee structures for attorney vary significantly based on the region and type of case. For more information about different types of attorneys’ fees click here.

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