Speaking of expert witnesses, how expensive are they, and who has to foot the bill until the case is resolved one way or the other?
That’s a great question, because expert witnesses in product cases can be very expensive. In some cases, they can cost as much as six-figure money, hundreds of thousands of dollars for expert witnesses in any given case. In other cases, expert witnesses can be controlled and their expenses controlled so that the value of the case doesn’t get consumed by paying the expert witnesses. But a plaintiff shouldn’t worry about those expenses and should talk about those expenses with their counsel, because a good trial attorney, first of all, is going to pay for those expert witnesses. Those won’t be borne or paid by the plaintiff himself. The plaintiff’s attorney, using his own money or her money, will pay the expert witnesses and recoup those costs at the end of the case if a settlement or judgement is received. So there’s no cost to the plaintiff for those expert witnesses.
So, just so I understand it – there’s no initial upfront cost, but the plaintiff ends up paying it out of the proceeds from a judgement or settlement?
Most plaintiffs attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, and what that says is there’s no upfront cost to the plaintiff whatsoever. However, if the attorney is able to get a settlement or a judgement, then the plaintiff’s attorney recoups his expenses: The expert witness fees, the filing fees, other fees that are associated with the… Or expenses that are associated with litigating the case, in addition to a certain percentage for his or her fee.