How Much Does It Cost To Sue Someone

A person filling out a lawsuit form.

If you have been wronged by an individual or entity in the state of Colorado and have suffered damages as a result, you have the right to file a lawsuit and recover those damages. 

However, filing a lawsuit can be costly. There are many factors that go into the actual process of filing a lawsuit, and depending on the circumstances of your case, the cost of filing a lawsuit can go up.

Let’s take a closer look at how much it costs to sue someone in Colorado, including the many different elements that determine the costs. We’ll also explore options for financial aid so you can recover the damages you may be entitled to.

The Claim You File and Where You File It Matters

To start, the Colorado court in which you file your claim will determine your claim’s initial filing cost. If you decide to file a lawsuit against someone in Colorado, you first have to determine where the lawsuit should be filed. 

There are several courts where you can file your claim in Colorado. They include: 

  • County Court: The filing fee is typically under $100
  • District Court: The filing fees can range from $200 to $600
  • Small Claims Court: Filing fees are generally under $50. Cases filed here involve plaintiffs seeking $7,500 or less in damages.

Where you file your lawsuit is determined by the nature and the amount of your claim. Additionally, where you file the lawsuit also depends on where the case occurred or where the defendant lives. 

Factors Affecting Costs To Sue Someone in Court

Once you have decided to sue someone in court, the next step is to compile the lawsuit. Then, you will need to understand other costs, including legal fees, that may arise during the legal process. Let’s take a look at how to sue someone in court and the costs that may come up. 

Drafting the Lawsuit 

Once you have determined the appropriate court to file your civil claim, you will then need to draft the document that will become the lawsuit. This lawsuit will detail your claims, allegations, violations of laws, evidence, and other details regarding your case.

This part of the claims process can be overwhelming for many individuals, and many will turn to an experienced attorney who will write out this lawsuit. Of course, that service results in the first of several legal fees. 

Lawyer Fees 

All lawyers have their own fees and fee structures. If you are considering working with an attorney, you should understand their fee structure to determine your financial obligation if you work with them. If you consider working with an attorney, the fee structures you will come across include:

  • Flat fee: This is the simplest of the fee structures and involves a lawyer taking a single, one-time fee in exchange for the legal service or services they provide
  • Hourly basis: A lawyer who works with you on an hourly basis will charge you for each hour of the time they give you. Hourly rates will vary depending on the layer and your case but can range anywhere from $199 to $295 per hour. 
  • Contingency: A lawyer who works on a contingency fee generally means that you won’t have to pay any attorney any fees until they win your case. Contingency fees are generally calculated on a percentage basis, and this number is agreed upon in writing before the attorney takes on your case. 
  • Work on retainer: Many other lawyers work on retainer, meaning an individual seeking legal services will pay an upfront fee that goes into an account. This payment generally “reserves” the time and expertise a lawyer will provide. When a lawyer delivers that service, the lawyer will have access to the funds paid by the client.

Additional Legal Fees

Depending on your case, there may be additional legal fees you’ll have to pay. Some common elements that can raise the cost of suing someone in Colorado include: 

  • Service fee: A service fee is a fee paid out to the sheriff or process service that delivers the official documents to the person you are filing a lawsuit against. This puts the defendant on notice that they are being sued. 
  • Witness fees: If your case involves witnesses and you bring those witnesses in to testify in court, you will have to pay them for their involvement in your case
  • Expert testimony: Similarity, if there is expert testimony in your case, you will need to pay these individuals as they will be providing critical, often science-backed testimony on your behalf. Often, these testimonies can have a profound impact on the outcome of your case. 
  • Mediation fee: If your case involves family law and results in mediation between both parties, you may be responsible for paying a mediation fee. The mediation fee is paid to the mentor who works with you and the other party to resolve your claims. 
  • Appeal fee: If you do not win your case and decide to pursue an appeal with a higher court, you will be responsible for paying an appeal fee. The appeals process can be lengthy and require additional costs, but it can be another avenue to help you recover the damages you feel you may be entitled to. 

Do All Court Cases Require Filing Fees?

Generally, filing fees are not required in cases involving domestic violence. Additionally, there are generally limited filing fees in cases involving child custody and child support. Finally, the individual who starts the case is responsible for paying the filing fee. 

Financial Assistance Options for Filing a Lawsuit

If you want to file a lawsuit against someone in Colorado but do not have the financial means to do so, you may be eligible for financial assistance that can help you pursue your case. 

You can use different avenues to file your lawsuit; however, you should always start by speaking with a lawyer. A lawyer can point you in the direction of resources that can apply to your case. 

Additionally, some lawyers may help you get your court fees waived either by having them set aside or forgiven. You should also contact your local legal aid office to get insight into your opinions on getting fees waived or set aside. 

Finally, if the following applies to you, you may be able to seek financial aid and other support through your local court’s system: 

  • You receive public benefits, including welfare, food stamps, or SSI benefits 
  • You are part of a low-income household, and you can show that you have limited means to pay the court fees

How Bachus & Schanker Can Help You

A personal injury lawyer speaking to his two clients.

At Bachus & Schanker, our team can help you understand your legal rights and options as you pursue your case. Our legal team provides transparent pricing, works on contingency, and will work diligently to represent your case to the full extent so you can recover the damages you may be entitled to. Our lawyers also offer other fee structures that may better apply to your case. 

If you have questions about how to sue someone in Colorado, reach out to the experienced attorneys at Bachus & Schanker today. 

Sources:

Filing Fees, Surcharges, and Costs In Colorado State Courts. (2024). 

Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado. (2024).

Starting a Civil Case. (2024).

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