When a person is involved in a legal dispute, fees for an attorney can quickly add up. This is true regardless of the dispute or legal action—civil action, business cases, divorces, personal injury claims, and more can all be costly when an attorney is involved. If you’re involved in a legal case, you may wonder whether or not you can recover attorneys’ fees as part of your settlement. Consider the following brief overview related to suing for attorney fees in Massachusetts, and call a personal injury for more information specific to your case. 

Who Pays for an Attorney in a Lawsuit?

Typically, each party is responsible for paying for their own legal fees in Massachusetts. Indeed, Massachusetts adheres to the “American Rule,” which holds that each party to a lawsuit is responsible for their own lawyer’s charges, regardless of the outcome of the case. However, the state does allow for some exceptions to this rule, discussed below. 

When Can You Sue for Legal Fees?

There are three general situations in which you may be able to recover legal fees in a lawsuit. These include:

  • Stipulation. In contract law, there may be a stipulation in the contract that states that one party will pay the other’s legal fees if they end up in court. 
  • Statute. In certain cases, state statute permits the recovery of attorneys’ fees. For example, in cases involving violations of civil rights, taxpayer suits, and more, the plaintiff maintains the right to recover reasonable legal fees. 
  • Court order. A judge has the discretion to order one party to pay legal fees to the other. However, this is rare, and will typically only be done when there are extenuating circumstances that lead the judge to believe that such an order is appropriate. 

Why You Shouldn’t Skimp on an Attorney

As a plaintiff in a civil case in which you are seeking damages, you have the right to seek compensation for the full value of your economic and noneconomic losses. Working with an attorney will help to ensure that your right to compensation is protected, and that you recover the maximum amount possible. When you fail to hire an attorney—or hire a particular attorney just because their rate is low—you are potentially risking the success of your case. 

Understanding Attorney Contingency Fees

Something that’s important to understand about working with an attorney during a personal injury claim is that an attorney works on a contingency fee basis. This means that your attorney should not charge you any upfront fee or retainer, and that they will not charge you if your case is unsuccessful. Rather, the attorney’s fee will be based on the success of your case. If you win, the attorney will be entitled to a percentage of your overall award.

Call Tetzel Law Today

At Tetzel Law, we work on a contingency fee basis and always prioritize our clients’ interests. For a free consultation, please call us directly at (617) 742-1700 or send us a message online.