Am I required to pay case expenses at the beginning or during the case?

No, our North Carolina personal injury law firm always advances the case expenses (medical record fees, filing fees, expert witness fees if any) on behalf of our clients, and the client is not asked to reimburse the law firm until settlement where the case expenses are repaid from the client's share of the recovery.  This is a big advantage for our clients because some law firms do ask clients to contribute toward case expenses at the beginning or during the case.