NY Defamation Lawsuit Cost: What to Expect When Filing a Claim


If you are considering filing a lawsuit for defamation, you may find yourself wondering about the cost. This guide to the average defamation lawsuit cost in New York can help you know what to expect.

What Influences the Defamation Lawsuit Cost?

Finding yourself on the receiving end of a publicly made defamatory statement can result in a level of personal injury that drives you to consider the litigation process, questioning whether the defamation lawsuit cost would be worth it. Basically, the expense required to legally pursue a defamation case with the assistance of a defamation attorney varies based on a number of factors. 

The primary variable is usually whether defamation lawsuits are contested. With a multitude of potential First Amendment defenses available, cases are regularly contested, particularly if you’re a public figure or it’s considered to be in the public interest. 

If the defendant challenges the plaintiff’s case, more time and effort are required. With additional preparation and likely a more extended trial, the lawyer will have to work harder. The cost to litigate the case reflects those increases. 

Uncontested lawsuits generally end in a settlement more quickly than contested ones, making them less expensive than other cases. Hiring a lawyer local to where the defendant lives is often necessary. Since lawyers in different jurisdictions vary significantly in price, you will want to do some research to properly budget for your suit. If you need the services of defamation lawyers in NJ and NY, contact Mullen Law Firm to inquire how much money you will need to pay to settle your case or take it to court.

How Much Does a Defamation Lawsuit Cost?


If you have been defamed online, you may want to know how much a defamation lawsuit costs and whether it will be worth it. Without knowing the precise details of your case, it would be difficult for a law office to estimate the cost of litigation for their clients.

To better understand the aspects that affect the bottom line, the alleged victim should know a few basic facts regarding how their bill will be figured.

There are three main fee structures lawyers use to assess their rates:

  • Contingency fees are only charged if a specific result is reached.
  • Flat fees, where you pay a certain amount regardless of effort or outcome.
  • Retainer fees allow you to pay a deposit from which hourly fees are removed monthly.

Ultimately, the amount you pay will depend on which payment structure they use and how much time your case requires. A reputable law office can provide more information about how they determine the costs for your case.

Defamation Lawsuit Requirements in New York

In a New York defamation lawsuit, requirements for proving libel or slander include damages that the person suffered due to the written or spoken statement of another. A defamation claim usually requests compensation for general (also referred to as nominal) damages due to the mental anguish or harm to the reputation the statements caused. Any other damage (called special or compensatory) like the loss of a job or destruction of a business requires documentation to prove the effects.

Since slander is a spoken statement, it is generally more difficult to prove than defamation cases based on written statements known as libel.

Suits for monetary rewards are usually quite contentious, lasting longer and costing more. Plus, if the person bringing the case requests punitive damages, they must prove the defendant acted with actual malice, making a damaging statement they knew was untrue. They can request that the other person pay their attorney fees if they are granted punitive damages.


What You Need to Sue for Defamation 

Aside from proof of damages, there are several things you need to sue for defamation or things that would greatly help reduce the cost. These include:

  • Identity of the defendant
  • Knowing how much defamatory content is online
  • Required time for the conclusion
  • Whether a court order is necessary for content removal

When determining a defamation lawyer’s cost, it is partly dependent on how much information you have and the specific details of your case.

What Is the Success Rate of Defamation Cases?

The success rate of defamation cases varies depending on how easy it is to prove the facts of your case and their resulting impact on your life. A high-conflict legal action with questionable personal injury will be more difficult and inherently more expensive to resolve successfully than other cases. If your suit requires expert witnesses and a lengthy investigation, attorneys usually charge more.

If an appeal is filed, the additional fees may not be covered by a financial agreement that pays a defamation attorney on a contingency fee basis.

Mediation can be an affordable settlement option for many clients. Although mediators are paid separately from the attorneys, it still leads to a less expensive path than taking the claim to a jury trial.


Is It Worth Suing for Defamation?

With so much virtual noise on the Internet, many people contemplate whether it is worth suing for defamation when someone has disparaged them online. Defamatory statements can result in a slander case that results in a private party or business owner receiving monetary relief from the other party if the judge deems they made verbal statements that are considered defamation. 

Based on defamation law, compensatory damages are sometimes awarded if a person acted with actual malice resulting in more than mental suffering or harm to the other person’s reputation. 

A plaintiff with a considerable amount of defamatory content or a false statement posted online will likely consider a defamation case worthwhile if those statements resulted in special damages like medical expenses or financial loss. The more content that exists, the more evidence there is. Therefore, the more time it takes for the lawyer to preserve, organize, and present it, the more expensive the attorney fees accumulated on an hourly basis.

In addition to the attorney fee structure, other factors that add to the legal costs include:

  • Amount of online content
  • Whether the case is contested 
  • Whether the defendant’s identity is unknown
  • Whether the case is handled promptly
  • Whether a court order is needed for its removal
  • Whether you want monetary relief

Since all of these elements can drastically impact how long the defamation case takes, it is wise to consult a reputable and experienced internet lawyer for more information.

Defamation Consequences

Defamation consequences can be devastating, and if you feel that you deserve to be compensated for any emotional turmoil, loss of your credibility, or financial damages, you should contact a reliable lawyer to handle your defamation claim.

Prospective clients experiencing active and ongoing false or malicious Internet content who want quick results should reach out to a reputable attorney with experience with similar cases. Although they may be more expensive, the cost of waiting is often more costly. Call now for a free consultation.

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