How Much Does A Handwriting Expert Cost?
- Handwriting experts, also known as forensic handwriting experts, are hired to analyze and determine the authenticity of handwriting or signatures on documents.
- The cost of hiring a handwriting expert depends on the number of documents that need to be analyzed.
- Handwriting experts are unbiased expert witnesses and are not paid based on the outcome of the case.
- Prices for hiring a handwriting expert can range from $300 to $800 per hour, with some requiring a minimum number of hours in their retainer. Appearance in court is often $2500 per day or more for an experienced forensic document examiner.
- Factors that can affect the cost of hiring a handwriting expert include the complexity of the case, the number of documents that need to be analyzed, and the expert’s level of experience. It will also cost more to have that expert take photographs and inspect the original document with a microscope and other specialized equipment.
- If you need to hire a handwriting expert, it’s important to carefully research and compare expert credentials in order to find the one that is qualified and can best convince the jury that their opinion is correct.
Here are some other factors that can affect the cost:
- Travel expenses: If the expert has to travel for the case, this will add to the cost.
- Expert report: The expert may charge for a written report outlining their findings.
- Length of trial: The longer the trial, the more the expert will charge.
- Expert fees: Some experts charge an hourly rate, while others charge a flat fee for their services.
It’s important to discuss the cost with the expert before hiring them to ensure you are on the same page. Remember, the cost of hiring a forensic handwriting expert may be worth it in the long run if their testimony helps win your case.
Bart Baggett is a well-known forensic handwriting expert with over 25 years of experience. He has testified in numerous cases and his expertise has been recognized in courts nationwide. In one case, Baggett was able to prove that a will was a forgery, leading to the conviction of the defendant. In another case, he was able to identify the true writer of a threatening letter, ultimately helping to solve the case.
Baggett was hired in 2015 to appear in a civil trial in Los Angeles. Here is what he said about what happened while waiting in the hall for his name to be called to take the stand.
“I was waiting outside to testify, and I saw a guy walk out. He looked around and walked back into the courtroom. He then comes back out and says, “We don’t need you.” I ask, “What do you mean, I’ve already been paid in advance.” He states, “They saw you in the hall. And they stipulated that that signature was authentic. We don’t need your testimony. If you testified, it makes him look like a liar. And then the judge would not trust anything he would say after that. They know your reputation. You’re going to be very convincing” So, they literally caved. My reputation preceded me to the point where it was worth paying me to simply appear.”
Overall, the cost of hiring a forensic handwriting expert can vary greatly depending on the specifics of your case. It’s best to discuss the cost with the expert and weigh the potential benefits their testimony may bring to your case. With the right expert, the investment can be well worth it.
How do we price the lab work and investigation?
Most handwriting experts bill using the hourly retainer model or a flat rate model.
Prices often range from $300-$800 an hour. Some are much higher and require a minimum number of hours in their retainer. Bart Baggett charges $650 per hour and charges a minimum retainer of $3000.
Baggett gave details on a recent case with 50 different handwriting samples in question. He said “We had a case recently where there were 50 suspects who might or might not have written have mailed some very disturbing letters with handwriting on the outside of two envelopes. They wanted to know which one of the employees’ handwriting was written on the envelopes. Now at first glance, I don’t know if that’s 2 hours of work or 10 hours of work. I just don’t know. They paid me a retainer of $4000. I took about three hours to review the handwriting of those 50 suspects. And then, I told the client that I had excluded 45 of the suspects during my first pass. I narrowed down the 50 to just 5 good suspects. I then spend another three hours determining which one of the 5 suspects wrote the envelopes. By the time we wrote the details 75-page lab report, the retainer was all used up.”
Some clients prefer to just pay a flat rate rather than worry about being billed hourly. For example, a client could give pay a flat rate of $2000 for two documents. Sometimes, jobs like that are 2 hours of work, sometimes 5 hours. If it takes the expert five hours, the client got a really good deal going with the flat rate option opposed to paying an hourly fee.
If you want to talk about your forensic handwriting case, just go to this website and speak to one of our case consultants. 1-800-980-9030.
Bart Baggett’s office can be reached at the following websites
- Published in Court Testimony, Document Examination