Personal injury attorneys are required to tell prospective clients that a court may award attorney’s fees and costs to the other party at the end of your case. But when does this actually happen? Today’s blog will answer your questions. First and foremost, this rule on attorney’s fees and costs only applies if your case goes to trial or arbitration. If your case settles prior to trial, this rule should never come into play.
For example, the rules that apply when a court decides if attorney’s fees and costs should be awarded in personal injury attorney cases can be found in Nevada Rule of Civil Procedure, Rule 68 and NRS 17.115. The rules basically applies when the other side made you a settlement offer. However, in evaluating the offer, you decided to go to trial instead of settling. But, the jury awarded you less than what was offered prior to trial. The court may award the other side their fees and costs for having to take the case to trial needlessly, because you would have gotten more money if you had just settled.
A case that was handed down in the 1980s, talks about four specific factors when looking at an award of fees:
- The trial court must carefully evaluate the following four factors: (1) whether the plaintiff’s claim was brought in good faith; (2) whether the defendant’s offer of judgment was reasonable and in good faith in both its timing and amount; (3) whether the plaintiff’s decision to reject the offer and proceed to trial was grossly unreasonable or in bad faith; and (4) whether the fees sought by the offeror are reasonable and justified in amount. See Beattie v. Thomas, 99 Nev. 579, 588-89 (1983).
Under the same example, the Las Vegas, Nevada Supreme Court case says, just because the court could potentially award the other side attorney’s fees and costs, it might not necessary do so. They say hindsight is always 20/20 and this applies when looking back after a trial is over. As long as a court determines that you and your counsel acted in good faith in taking your case to trial, the other side will not likely be awarded any fees and costs.
A personal injury attorney may be able to go over this with you in more detail. If you have questions about your accident case or attorney’s fees, call a top personal injury attorney today for a free, confidential consultation.