Client Liable For Opposing Party's Attorney's Fees & Costs / Nev

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Latest post 01-15-2008 8:24 PM by ca19lawyer2. 8 replies.
  • 01-13-2008 4:08 PM

    • Lizzy7
      Consumer
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on 10-07-2006
    • NV
    • Posts 119

    Question [=?] Client Liable For Opposing Party's Attorney's Fees & Costs / Nev

    Client Liable For Opposing Party's Attorney's Fees & Costs / Nevada

    In attorney's contingency fee agreements for personal injury cases is an important phrase, which sounds very risky. ''In the event of an unsuccessful lawsuit, client may be liable for the opposing party's attorney's fees and costs.'' It says ''MAY''.

    Who, where, when and how will the decision be made if the victim, who lost will have to pay these costs or not.

    Worst scenario; the victim was harmed and injured, lost money and health, in the event of a lawsuit loss, the victim has to pay unimaginable sums for the opposing party's attorney's fees and costs.

    My mother is permanently injured after a slip and fall accident and signed that kind of agreement. We are worried that we will lose our entire savings, income etc. and have debts in extreme high amounts. My families existence, life and future are at risk to be destroyed.

    How can we protect us from the liability of potential opposing party's attorney's fees and costs?


  • 01-13-2008 7:40 PM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] state law, court rule or any contract normally determine this

    "Who, where, when and how will the decision be made if the victim, who lost will have to pay these costs or not."

    The attorney who takes the case on contingency should almost certainly know if this exposure is possible.

    "My mother is permanently injured after a slip and fall accident and signed that kind of agreement. We are worried that we will lose our entire savings, income etc. and have debts in extreme high amounts. My families existence, life and future are at risk to be destroyed. "

    No. Only your mother's income and assets should be at risk.

    "How can we protect us from the liability of potential opposing party's attorney's fees and costs?"

    You can't, because the things that determine it are not in your control.


  • 01-13-2008 8:39 PM In reply to

    re: Client Liable For Opposing Party's Attorney's Fees & Costs / Nev

    The risk is low but it could happen as a result of what's called "Offer of Judgment".

    Here's a link to the NV statute:

    http://law.onecle.com/nevada/civil/17.115.html

    Here's an example of how it could work:

    You sue me for 100,000.

    I feel that I am not responsible or maybe that you are partially responsible but you insist that I am fully responsible.

    I am aware that litigation could cost me 30000 or 40000 to go all the way to trial with the cost of experts and attorneys.

    So, in accordance with the statute, I make you an "Offer of Judgment" of 20000.

    If you take it, the case is over and we all go home.

    If you refuse it we go to trial. If the jury awards you less than 20000 it means you lost because your case wasn't worth the 20000 I offered but you made me spend 40000 to prove it so you get to pay me my costs.

    It's just like the game shows on TV. You can quit and go home with some money but if you go for the million you risk going home with nothing.

    "My mother is permanently injured after a slip and fall accident and signed that kind of agreement."

    By signing that agreement your mother didn't "agree" to pay the other party's costs. All she did was acknowledge that she was aware of the risk. A risk that would have been there even if she didn't acknowledge it.

    The lawyer was smart to get her to sign it. Now no one can say "You didn't tell me that could happen."

    "How can we protect us from the liability of potential opposing party's attorney's fees and costs?"

    Simple.

    If the Defendant makes an "Offer of Judgment", accept it.

    It's when she goes forward with the case afterwards, that she runs the risk.


    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 01-14-2008 12:37 AM In reply to

    • Lizzy7
      Consumer
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on 10-07-2006
    • NV
    • Posts 119

    Feedback [*=*] re: Client Liable For Opposing Party's Attorney's Fees & Costs / Nev

    Jack, thank you for your very helpful information! I'm glad that we are not at a very high risk to lose thousands of dollars and that we would only have to pay, if we go to court. I feel that slip and fall cases are too risky. I would only go to court if I were 99% sure to win. We rather get less money, pay all fees and therefore get almost nothing. This is better than to lose everything. It sounds extremely unfair that injured victims are ripped off. The attorneys get their percentage, the clients pay all fees and medical bills . It's sad, but we have to deal with this terrible truth :(
  • 01-14-2008 9:02 AM In reply to

    re: Client Liable For Opposing Party's Attorney's Fees & Costs / Nev

    Also, you can serve the Defendant with your own OJ. It works both ways.
  • 01-14-2008 12:28 PM In reply to

    re: Client Liable For Opposing Party's Attorney's Fees & Costs / Nev

    Here's a link to your earlier post that has the details of your mother's accident so readers can check it out before commenting.

    http://community.lawyers.com/messageboards/message.asp?channelId=&subId=&mId=846145&mbId=928&threadId=928

    If your mother hasn't done this already I suggest that she (and you) sit down with her attorney for a lengthy discussion of the merits of her case and have the attorney discuss other wet floor rain cases that he or other attorneys have handled along with how the question of negligence is handled in NV with regard to failure to warn or failure to put out floor mats.

    I'd guess that there are plenty of other cases to look at and that the point should be well established.

    Here's one that you can look up in Clark County:

    Terry Bachmeier v. Sanitors Southwest Inc. Case number: A487565 Court: Nev. Dist., Clark Co

    I googled it, but the case info is on pay sites.

    The lawyer probably has a subscription to jury verdict services.





    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 01-14-2008 1:03 PM In reply to

    re: Client Liable For Opposing Party's Attorney's Fees & Costs / Nev

    "Who, where, when and how will the decision be made if the victim, who lost will have to pay these costs or not."

    In a personal injury case, each side pays its own attorneys' fees. HOWEVER, the prevailing party is ALWAYS entitled to recover its costs. I recently finished what was effectively a personal injury case (not really, but close enough) that went on for a year and a half. The injured plaintiff is going to end up on the hook for over $23000 in costs (mostly costs associated with taking depositions and obtaining copies of medical records). The statement in the retainer agreement is simply an advisor to you about this.

    "My mother is permanently injured after a slip and fall accident and signed that kind of agreement. We are worried that we will lose our entire savings, income etc. and have debts in extreme high amounts."

    Even if your mother were to lose and get hit with a hefty judgment for the other side's costs, "we" wouldn't lose anything. Only she would be liable. You would not be liable.

    "How can we protect us from the liability of potential opposing party's attorney's fees and costs?"

    Again, there is no "we" or "us" here. If your mother is the party to the lawsuit, she is the only one with any risk. And, as noted above, liability for fees isn't possible.
  • 01-15-2008 11:25 AM In reply to

    Question [=?] re: Client Liable For Opposing Party's Attorney's Fees & Costs / Nev

    "liability for fees isn't possible."

    Uh, I think we already established that Offers of Judgment could result in a liability for fees.

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 01-15-2008 8:24 PM In reply to

    re: Client Liable For Opposing Party's Attorney's Fees & Costs / Nev

    You're right. I hadn't read the rest of the thread when I responded to the original post.
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