Costs: "Costs can be loosely categorized as those costs that can and usually are awarded to the
HOW THEY ARE AWARDED AND WHY YOU SHOULD BE AWARE OF THEM
Costs can be loosely categorized as those costs that can and usually are awarded to the winning party in a civil negligence case and the litigation expenses you should anticipate incurring in your case. While these two areas of costs are interrelated, this overview is solely focused on the first type.
In North Carolina, in any negligence action, including medical malpractice, certain costs have been determined by the Court to be mandatory, and, when incurred, must be awarded to the party who wins at trial. Before you file your case, the potential for the award of costs are something you should think about and discuss with your attorney. The most important of the costs that must be awarded to the winner at trial are those for expert witnesses’ time, including time spent testifying and traveling to testify, and those for copies of deposition transcripts. These costs are the most important as they are the most expensive. The award of costs can be helpful if you win at trial inasmuch as you recover some of the money you spent on the most expensive parts of your case. On the other hand, if you lose at trial the award of costs can be a great financial hardship.
It is important to understand that no trial is a guaranteed victory, that the award of certain costs is required, and that the insurance companies do seek to collect the awarded money. It is also important to understand that an award of costs is only made when the case goes to trial and you win or lose. If the case settles prior to trial there is no award of costs to either side.
For this reason, it is important to consider any offer made by the defense in light of the potential award of costs. At The Rawlings Law Firm we can advise you regarding the potential for the award of costs in any case. We will revisit the issue as the case proceeds and advise you regarding any offer made. The potential for the award of costs is an important element of the cost-benefit analysis you must make before you file your case. More importantly, the potential for the award of costs is truly important if you, as the client, decide to reject an offer of settlement. Our office is experienced with this analysis and is able to advise you as you make your decision.