I want to file a lawsuit. As a plaintiff, how much will my case cost?
When the initial lawyer/client interview takes place our clients have a lot of questions, but sooner or later the discussion turns to the cost for their lawsuit.
The cost of a case varies greatly. There is no magic formula to predict this and, unfortunately the answer is “it depends.” There are numerous factors that contribute to the costs associated with resolving a case. One factor is the complexity of the lawsuit. For example, if there are more defendants, these additional defendants will have interests that they want satisfied in the litigation. This tends to lead to more discovery (depositions and written discovery), longer mediation sessions, and more law and motion practice. Naturally, as more work is done, costs increase.
The litigious nature of other parties is another factor. If one of the defendants is a particularly vexatious in an attempt increase your costs of taking your case to trial, then your costs will rise. However, we have had success combating such litigants.
Yet another factor is defendant’s counsel. Discovery, potentially the most expensive part of litigation, is usually where this factor influences your costs the most. If defendant’s counsel refuses to comply with the Civil Discovery Act and we are forced to bring motions compelling conduct, then those motions will increase costs. We have a strong success rate at recouping attorneys’ fees when we bring these types of motions.
Despite these variables, when we meet with you we should be able to provide you with rough estimates for the different stages of your lawsuit, such as the cost to file your Complaint, record a Lis Pendens, file a Motion for Summary Judgment, or conduct discovery.
Please also note that for the purposes of this article costs includes both incidental fees (filling fees, process serving fees, etc.) and attorneys’ fees. The above-listed factors mainly affect the cost of your case by influencing how many attorneys’ hours are required to accomplish your goal and thereby altering the amount of attorneys’ fees accumulated.