A lawsuit is a legal proceeding by one party against another in a court of law. Civil lawsuits refer to proceedings wherein a plaintiff claims to be harmed by the failure of another party to fulfill its legal obligations. Lawsuits are serious business in terms of time, money and energy.
Litigation is a time-consuming process. Getting a hearing date in court can take months and even years, and this is only the start of a tortuous process. Lawsuits are also a costly affair. The biggest cost component of a lawsuit is the fees that are paid to the attorney as compensation for their time and representation. There are many other expenses such as filing fees, document preparation fees and payments to third parties such as doctors and other expert witnesses in order to advance and support the claims. The actual costs of the lawsuit will depend on the jurisdiction of the legal case.
Attorney payments can assume various forms. Some lawyers charge a contingency fee, which is usually around 30-40% of the amount won by the client. Other attorneys enter into a retainer agreement, which involves a retainer fee or a down-payment before actually starting work on the case. The retainer arrangement, however, is not a favored option due to its exorbitant costs. Hourly fees are the most common payment arrangement between the plaintiffs and attorneys. The attorneys charge a fixed amount per hour and this includes the time spent on phone calls and answering emails. Lawsuit settlement funding like Legal Bay is a means of getting around mounting legal expenses. A company provides money that is needed while the case proceeds through the court system money in exchange for a portion of expected future settlement proceeds. There are rare instances when the lawyers work on a pro bono basis or for free. This is usually the prerogative of the individual lawyer or the legal firm concerned, although some bar associations stipulate that lawyers work bono for a fixed number of hours in order to provide legal aid to those who can’t afford it.
The moot question is whether it is worth filing a lawsuit, given the demands of time and costs. An attorney is the best person to tell if the case is worth pursuing, and he would base his opinion on whether you have a valid claim and the necessary standing in the matter, and the person you want to sue has the means of paying the compensation. It is pertinent to point out that the trial judge or administrative officer are the sole authority in determining the actual compensation. The successful party is, however, entitled to recover the costs and disbursements incurred in defending a lawsuit, in addition to the damages and remedies awarded by the court. It is a different matter that the party that loses the case is not only responsible for paying his own attorney, but also re-imburse the costs incurred by the other party’s attorneys in defending against the claim.