When Someone Else Has to Pay for Your Lawyer

Most countries in the world folloGregory Peckw the English rule on attorney’s fees. This means the losing party has to pay the winning party’s costs including their attorney’s fees. However, the United States is a notable exception. We follow the American rule (makes sense). The American rule means that each party is generally responsible for their own costs and attorney’s fees. However, there are a number of exceptions when the losing party can be required to pay the winning party’s expenses.

Generally, if a statute or a contract provides that the losing party must pay the winning party’s costs and attorneys fees the court will enforce that provision. In addition, if a contract provides attorneys fees to only one party if they prevail, Florida law mandates that all parties to the contract are entitled to fees if they prevail (even if the contract doesn’t specifically include such a provision). Many Florida statutes provide for attorney’s fees to the prevailing party including suits against insurance companies for wrongfully denied benefits, the prevailing party in a residential rental agreement and certain claims for fraudulent and deceptive practices.

It’s important to evaluate any claim for the potential recovery of attorney’s fees. These provisions in contracts and statutes are meant to encourage parties to act with good faith and assure the aggrieved party is not put in a worse position by having to file a lawsuit to enforce their rights.