One of the most frequently asked questions I get asked is “If I win can I get attorney’s fees too?”
My most common answer to that question is “No.”
The reason you are not entitled to attorney’s fees in a lawsuit is that New York follows the American Rule when it comes to attorney’s fees, which provides that each party is responsible for paying its own attorney's fees.
The rationale behind the American Rule is that the Courts do not want someone to be discouraged from bringing a meritorious case because they are afraid they would have to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees if they lost.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
The first exception is in contracts. Parties can specifically put into their contracts that if there is a dispute that requires a lawsuit, the prevailing party can recover attorney’s fees.
That is why it is a good idea to add such a provision to all your contracts. Of course, if you lose you would owe the other party their attorney’s fees.
The other common exception is statutory. If there is a law that specifically applies to your court case and it provides for attorney’s fees, then you would recover your attorney’s fees if you won the case.
For example, one statute in New York provides for attorney’s fees if a business is engaged in deceptive business practices.
Thus, if you want to recover your attorney’s fees, the best way to ensure you can do so is to have your attorney write it into your contracts.
Watch the video above to learn more .
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