Certainly. If you lose a lawsuit, you’ll owe more than what the judge or jury awards the plaintiff. You’ll also owe interest on the award. Interest starts from the day the lawsuit is filed. Civil trials can end years after the lawsuit is filed. You’ll then owe years of interest, plus the awarded amount. Interest rates vary by state, but range between 5 percent and 18 percent annually. If your state imposes a 12 percent interest (about average) and you’re liable for $50,000, after five years of litigation you’ll owe $38,000 in interest – or a total of $88,000! Add legal fees, witness expenses, court costs, transcripts and the time you spend not making money and you can see litigation’s true cost. Consider these economics when you negotiate settlement. Minor lawsuits can end up literally bankrupting defendants.