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Civil cases can be quite expensive. But who pays the fees in civil cases? If you’re considering legal action, it is important to understand what the financial implications may be for you. Here’s a guide to understanding how fees are generally managed in civil cases in Arizona. 

How Are Legal Fees Determined in Civil Cases?

who pays legal fees in civil cases

The determination of who pays legal fees in civil cases depends on several factors, such as the type of case and the contractual agreements between the parties.

The American Rule

Arizona generally follows the “American Rule” regarding legal fees. This rule states that each party is responsible for paying their own attorney’s fees, regardless of who wins the case. However, there are exceptions to this rule.

Statutory Exceptions

Certain statutes allow for the prevailing party to recover attorney’s fees. For example, Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 12-341.01 permits the recovery of reasonable attorney’s fees in contract disputes. Other specific types of cases may also have statutory provisions allowing for the recovery of legal fees.

Contractual Agreements

In some cases, the parties involved may have a contractual agreement that specifies who will pay legal fees in the event of a dispute. These agreements are typically upheld by courts.

Factors Influencing the Payment of Legal Fees

Several factors can influence whether one party is required to pay the other’s legal fees in a civil case.

Prevailing Party

In some cases, the court may award attorney’s fees to the prevailing party. The prevailing party is generally the one who wins the case, although determining who the prevailing party is can sometimes be complex, especially if both parties achieve some degree of success.

Equity Considerations

Courts may also consider equitable factors when deciding on the awarding of attorney’s fees. This can include the financial disparity between the parties and whether awarding fees is necessary to ensure fairness under the law.

Common Scenarios for Fee Awards

Who pays legal fees in civil cases like contract disputes?

Certain types of civil cases more frequently involve the awarding of attorney’s fees. Here are a few common scenarios:

Contract Disputes

In contract disputes, attorney’s fees can often be recovered if the contract includes a provision for such fees or if statutory provisions apply. This is particularly relevant in business and real estate disputes.

Personal Injury Cases

In personal injury cases, attorney’s fees are typically handled on a contingency basis, meaning the attorney only gets paid if the client wins the case. The fees are then taken as a percentage of the awarded damages. Consult with an injury lawyer in Phoenix to learn more.

Family Law Cases

In certain family law cases, courts may award attorney’s fees to one party to ensure both parties have fair access to legal representation.

Get Legal Assistance in Arizona

At Sargon Law Group, we are committed to helping you understand your rights and options. If you are involved in a civil case in Arizona and have questions about legal fees, contact us today for a consultation.