Q. How long will my case take to be resolved?
A. Many cases can be resolved without filing a lawsuit, within a matter of weeks or months. Civil cases that are filed in the Superior Court are generally set for trial within one year from the date of filing and 97 % of those cases are resolved through settlement in advance of trial.
Occasionally, trial court decisions are appealed. The appellate process takes an additional 12 to 18 months and requires the preparation of the appropriate pleadings and transcripts of proceedings in the trial court as well as the submission of briefs and oral arguments in the Court of Appeal.
Q. What are the legal fees and costs that are involved in civil litigation?
A. Plaintiff’s cases are handled on either an hourly or contingency basis. Some cases have both an hourly and contingency fee component (reduced hourly fee plus percentage of recovery). Defense cases are generally handled on an hourly basis only.) Our hourly rates range from $100 per hour to $350 per hour, depending on who is performing the legal services.
Costs generally including filing fees, service of process, document retrieval costs (photocopies/scanning), court reporter’s fees (for depositions or at trial) and expert witness fees. These costs vary depending on the nature and complexity of each case.
Q. Are there any time limits within which I must file suit?
A. There are different statutes of limitations that apply to different cases. As an example, the statute of limitations for breach of a written contract is four years, for breach of an oral agreement two years, for fraud three years and for personal injury claims two years. Statute of limitations can sometimes be shortened by agreement and in the case of claims involving governmental entities there are pre-litigation claims requirements that often times require action within a much shorter period of time (sometimes as little as six months). Statute of limitation also start to run at different times depending on the nature of the action and therefore, legal analysis is usually required to analyze whether or not an action is timely.
Because failure to take action within the appropriate time statute of limitations can be fatal to an otherwise meritorious case it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.
Q. Is there a fee for an initial consultation?
A. There is no charge for an initial phone consultation. If your case is a matter that we can handle on a contingency basis there is no charge for the initial office consultation. In the case of hourly matters we generally provide a reduced hourly fee for the initial consultation.