How Much Does It Cost to Sue Someone? A Detailed Guide

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Are you looking to sue somebody? Well, you’ll probably want to know how much it will cost. 

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Even though we cannot provide you with a precise approximation of what it’s going to cost you, we can provide an outline of the potential costs associated with suing somebody. As well as the fee structures that most lawyers prefer.

In this article, we will try to answer to the best of our ability, “How much does it cost to sue someone?”

So if that’s something you want to know, keep reading to learn more. 

How Much Does It Cost to Sue Someone?

As mentioned earlier, it would be rather difficult to come up with a specific or even average number for suing somebody. However, we can announce that a simple lawsuit should cost around $10,000.

But because lawsuits come in varying complexity and require lots of expertise, the cost will be determined based on many of the pertinent factors. Nonetheless, the silver lining is that your lawsuit might result in your favor, meaning there will be some monetary compensation helping you cover the costs either way.

To add to that, do not go to trial unless your case is solid. It’s difficult to determine how the court will judge the case, therefore all trials are risky. Coming to a settlement is potentially the best thing you can do.

In that case, the other entity will pay you a specific agreed-upon amount and avoid trial. You will be able to get compensation even if pre-settlement funding is to be involved. 

However, just because you settle, doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay any expenses. While you will have less to cover, you still have to pay for them.

Types Of Lawyer Fees

One of the most common types of lawyer fees is based on percentage, a.k.a contingency fee. This is usually around 40%. You can negotiate this pricing, but be prepared to meet bargains.

Most people find this approach to be reasonable, as it pushes the lawyer to place an incentive upon the case victory. But beware of the fine print, you might end up having to pay court fees or to reimburse the lawyer towards the ends of the case.

Be sure to clarify what you will be obligated to pay for in the event of victory and loss.


An alternative approach is a retainer agreement. This can include a downpayment, in which the lawyer wants to see that you are financially competent. This payment is used against future legal expenses.

However, “on retainer” is something that can come out to be quite expensive. It would require you to pay regular fees, in exchange for legal services at your convenience. This is mostly employed by businesses or individuals who come across legal concerns often. 

Hourly fees are also quite common in the world of law. The prices are variable, and these are employed to charge you for each minute that the lawyers spend emailing, on the phone, submitting documents, etc. At the billing date, they will send an itemized list for you to review, and pay for. 

Pro Bono

Some lawyers will choose to work pro bono, which means your case is practically free. Many bar associations require lawyers to work certain hours pro bono to provide legal support for those who don’t have the finances to afford it. 

You can find these types of lawyers quite easily online. So how much does it cost to sue someone? As much as you can afford, as well as much as you will allow.

When the Lawsuit Is Worth It

If you truly believe that your case is solid and you are willing to risk the costs, it might be time to seek legal advice. No matter what you read online or how similar a case of your friends was, only a lawyer will be able to tell if your case is worth the hassle. 

Before you do proceed, get their opinion. But don’t forget to finish this article.

Punitive/Compensatory Damages

However, what if you’re not sure if your case is even worth speaking to a lawyer about? Well, first, most interstitial consultations are free, but even then you just might not want to spend your time,.

You will often read about damages in the millions, but those are punitive damages, and they are not awarded in a civil lawsuit. 

Punitive damages are monetary quantities that are determined by a judge to punish the defendant and deter other entities from behaving similarly. Whether or not these damages can be pursued in your case will depend upon the state in which you live. 

Some states require the possibility spelled out in the law, and some do not allow it at all.

However, what you are looking for are compensatory damages. It’s the monetary quantity that is required for you to get back to where you were before the occurrence has happened (legal fees barred). If you were injured by the defendant, the damages might cover the hospital bill, and nothing more. Therefore, you can see why the settlement is a better option.


But before you even get to that point, you need to understand the cause. While you might feel that you have been wronged, consider if the offender had the duty or legal obligation to perform their action. 

This obligation might not be literal, written out, or in clear view, but it can rise to interest in the court of law. For instance, your landlord is obligated to provide substantial necessities, but they are often minimal. For the lawsuit to be worth it, you need to consider whether or not a formal obligation might have swayed them to act differently.

A lawsuit is serious, and it must warrant deliberate consideration. Not only will it take up your time, but it will also take up your wallet.

If you feel the case is worth pursuing, see an attorney who can help you.

Lawsuits Done Right

Now that you know the answer to the question of “How much does it cost to sue someone?”, you are well on your way to determining if a lawsuit is right for you. 

In any case, this is your life and your decision. Whatever you choose to do, it will be the right thing to do.

If you’re interested in similar legal articles, feel free to check out the rest of our filtered categories.

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