When retaining an expert witness for a case, the lawyer usually negotiates a contract between the two professionals with certain aspects of financial matters that will detail the fees involved and what the expert witness can expect in payment. Read on to learn more.
Setting the Fees in the Agreement
The expert witness hired for the case has greater power and flexibility over how to set the fees of the agreement. The individual can have fees billed through hourly pay or set a certain number of hours for various tasks or for a half or full day when at a deposition or when needed. Other expenses may include for travel, accommodation and meals.
The Engagement Fee
The engagement of the expert witness requires a certain fee based on the relationship and the case. The consultation is separate from the engagement of the professional, has different fees and could retain the expert after the initial engagement. This is often a non-refundable form of deposit which other fees will subtract from after use. The engagement fee paid to the expert will then provide the ability to have the expert testify or provide reports for the case
The Consultant Fee
The consultant expectations are more hourly tasks performed for the specific agreement between the lawyer and the expert witness. This could exist in a salary or special condition, but many experts will work through an hourly rate. Some duties include analyses of reports or materials, calculations of numbers or damages, conclusions for the case, preparations of relevant reports and travel time to get to the court.
When an expert witness is part of an investigation, trial case or the entire case, he or she will usually need to travel to different locations. These fees often add up significantly if the expert lives far away or needs to constantly travel for different errands and processes. Sometimes, the lab is in a different location than where the lawyer will perform certain tasks. The client may also have the case in a state not near where the expert lives.
All Other Fees
Lab processes, investigation, preparations for the case and testing all require costs. If the expert is the scientific type, he or she will need the use of a lab and materials to test the evidence. When consulting about something specific that requires research, the expert may charge per hour for this process. Preparations for the case in the courtroom could demand electronic setup, costs for purchasing software, hardware and other components. If the expert takes surveillance footage or photos, he or she will have added costs for these actions
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