What do you think of when you hear the phrase, “Litigation is expensive”? You probably think of the money. And, you are right.
The court cost to file a general civil lawsuit in Riverside County now costs $450. Attorney fees are much more than that. Attorney fees can be $200 to $400 per hour. Sometimes $2,000 or more must be paid before work even begins. A simple trial can take hours to interview witnesses, take depositions of your opponent, obtain necessary documents and prepare documents needed by the court for trial. This is not taking into consideration the cost of paying a process server to serve court papers, legal transcriptionists, and possible jury and court reporter fees. Complex cases can make these legal fees look small. Litigation is financially expensive and unforeseen circumstances can arise to increase the cost.
There are other costs that some don’t consider. How much is your time worth? Some people are mad that they are not entitled to be paid for their time. Going to trial is time-consuming. Your opponent may demand documents which you will have to find and copy for them. There may be many phone calls with your attorney, depositions, and pre-trial motions. All of this takes time—time that would be much better spent working on your business, pursuing a promising new client, or taking a vacation. You could miss many opportunities which will not present themselves again before you even get to trial.
Consider, too, what the stress will cost you. After you’ve spent your money, your time and endured the stress, there is still no guarantee that a judge or jury will see the facts from your perspective. What will be the emotional cost to you? Often, we do not consider this—but it may be the biggest cost of all. Frustration, vengeance, and bitterness take a toll on our physical and emotional health.
Before rushing to sue, seriously consider whether you can resolve the problem without filing a lawsuit. A mediator can help you seek and negotiate a reasonable solution and spare you the financial, time, and stress-related costs of an unnecessary lawsuit.