This is one of the most common questions we get asked in civil litigation consultations. Of course, as a business owner, you want an accurate picture of how much time and money defending yourself against a lawsuit will take. However, the answer is just not that simple.
San Diego business dispute attorneys like the California Business Lawyer & Corporate Lawyer work on an hourly basis for the very reason that there is no way of knowing in advance how much work will be involved in a case. Even civil lawsuits that seem simple at first glance can become costly affairs. When our clients ask us for an expected price range, the best-case scenario could be as low as tens of thousands of dollars, and the worst-case scenario could be millions. It all depends on the circumstances of the case and the objective of the plaintiff and their legal counsel.
In this article, we will discuss some of the things that affect the price tag of a lawsuit and why quoting defense costs is not a simple matter.
Why Is My Civil Litigation Attorney Hesitant to Quote the Defense Costs?
The simple answer is, that we just don’t know. According to Nakase Law Firm business litigation lawyer in Los Angeles, attorneys have worked on plenty of cases that seemed complex but has been solved quickly during settlement negotiations. We have also worked on plenty of cases that seemed simple, but the plaintiff or their legal counsel took an unnecessarily aggressive approach. When it comes to litigation, there are so many other parties and factors that can impact the lawsuit.
- The plaintiff – Who your opposition is will impact the lawsuit. If they have deep pockets and can afford to fight you in court, then the lawsuit will cost a lot more. Smaller opponents tend to want to find an easy resolution. They can’t afford the time off work to appear in court and settlement meetings, not to mention the costs of filing fees. A class-action lawsuit or one with a number of at-fault parties will be more costly. There is extra evidence to collect and fault to prove, and you may end up paying multiple settlements.
- Opposing legal team – The experience and strategy of the opposing legal team will impact the cost of your defense. Newer lawyers often have more to prove and will fight more aggressively during litigation. Experienced lawyers are looking for the easiest resolution that will benefit their client. They have the interests of their clients at heart, and those interests are often not dragging a lawsuit out longer than it needs to be.
- External factors – There are a number of external factors that may increase defense costs. Things like court rulings, witness cooperation, and the availability of evidence will impact costs. If your civil litigation lawyer needs to hire experts to testify on the technical elements of the case, that will also cost more money.
A lawyer who is worth their salt will make it clear to you that their quote is not an exact science, that the cost of your defense may work out more expensive. Look for a lawyer who will keep you up to date with the case progress and notify you if they believe things will be more expensive than originally thought. Lawsuits will often take certain turns, or decisions will be made that will be more expensive. Your lawyer should keep you apprised of the costs connected with certain choices.
Asking your lawyer for a best-case scenario and worst-case scenario quote will not help you budget any better. There could be millions in the difference between the two quotes. Instead, you need to be aware that quotes are just quotes, and there are a lot of things that happen during litigation that will be outside of you and your attorney’s control. Instead of looking for the best quote when hiring a litigator, look for a lawyer that is honest about the fact that a litigation defense quote is not an exact science.
Do You Need The Help of a California Civil Litigator?
Whether you are filing a lawsuit or defending against one, you need an experienced civil litigator on your team. Contact us today to book a consultation so you can discuss your case.