I just won my lawsuit. Can I get reimbursed for my attorney's fees?

When you sue somebody (or are sued) and win, you might be able to get the other side to pay for your attorney fees. Generally, this happens if you had a contract dispute that allowed for fee reimbursement. Sometimes the law allows reimbursement because of the type of lawsuit. Assuming you are allowed to be reimbursed, then a court can award you be paid your reasonable attorney fees.

It is unethical for an attorney to charge unreasonably. Indiana's rules on attorney conduct specifically say that a "lawyer shall not make an agreement for, charge, or collect an unreasonable fee". (Ind. Rules of Prof'l Conduct 1.5). There are many things to consider regarding whether a fee is reasonable, much of it is common sense.

In certain cases, an attorney can also charge for a paralegal's time. Generally, that is acceptable only if that paralegal "works under the direction of an attorney" and does work that "usually requires a sufficient knowledge of legal concepts and would be performed by the attorney in the absence of the paralegal." (Johnson v. Naugle, 557 N.E.2d 1339 (Ind. Ct. App. 1990)).

So, you can be reimbursed for your attorney fees if you have a right to do so (e.g. a contract) and the attorney's fees are reasonable. Discuss this with your attorney at the onset of the representation.

Daniel Zamudio

I am a patent attorney and have experience litigating in federal court.