The Cost of Hiring a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you want to file a claim against some medical company or professional who harmed you, then you must be wondering how you can hire a medical malpractice lawyers and how much will he/she charge.
The charges of medical malpractice lawyers rely on different factors, including:
- What are the charges of the lawyer?
- What method is used by the layer for billing his/her services?
- If you succeed in the trial and obtain financial compensations.
- If the case settles beforehand and the different expenses linked with it.
The billing method used by a medical malpractice lawyer decides when and how much the client will have to pay. The medical malpractice attorneys either charge on an hourly basis or demand contingency fees.
If a lawyer charges an hourly fee, then you will have to pay him/her for all of his/her time spent while handling your case, no matter if you succeed in your case or don’t. There are other expenses of the lawyer as well which you will also be responsible for, such as expert witness charges, your case filing fees, photocopying etc.
A retainer must be paid if you hire a medical malpractice lawyer who uses an hourly rate for his/her service. Retainer is the payment given up-front for starting a case. Then, you may have to follow the monthly payments procedure as long as your case proceeds.
The contingency fee doesn’t include any up-front payment. Your medical malpractice lawyer will be given a part of whatever monetary compensation or settlement you obtain from the defendants who have made you suffer. In case you don’t succeed, then you don’t owe your lawyer anything.
Most medical malpractice lawyers charge contingency fees. The reason behind it is because the majority of clients cannot pay up-front payments to lawyers while they are still suffering from their medical conditions and the costs linked with it. If your medical malpractice lawsuit is not being taken by an attorney who practices medical malpractice law, then it might be possible that your case lacks strength.
It varies how much portion out of the settlement will be received by the lawyers. However, the most commonly used rate of contingency fee is 33% of the total settlement or compensation amount. Some arrangements may use different amounts for different situations. For instance, an arrangement may require 33% contingency charges if the lawsuit settles before going to trial and 40% contingency fees if it does proceed to trial.
The litigation costs are also a substantial factor. These costs involve court filing charges, the cost spent on acquiring records from a medical facility, or fees of expert medical witnesses. Agreements are used by many lawyers that establish that all litigation costs will be paid by the lawyer, at least in the beginning.
A Rough Estimate
For instance, a lawyer and patient decides on a 33% contingency rate of fees, where initial litigation charges will be paid by the lawyer and then they will be deducted from the received compensation or settlement amount. So, if the litigation costs were $10,000 and $100,000 were received in settlement, and then the lawyer will be repaid the litigation costs, that leaves $90,000 behind. Then, a contingency fee worth $30,000 will be paid to the lawyer and the patient would take the rest $60,000 home.
Important Points for Clients to Consider
Every client who wants to file a medical malpractice lawsuit must remember that the fees of an attorney might be negotiable. Other than the percentage of fees, other terms related to the case may also be negotiable.
It doesn’t mean that you must consult dozens of attorneys and compare their qualifications and prices, but few of them must be thoroughly checked to find the right one for you. Also, keep in mind that the initial consultation provided by attorneys is mostly free.
Laws That Affect Medical Malpractice Fees
Some medical malpractice law advisors and consultants argue that greater contingency fees assist in driving up the healthcare cost. Resultantly, laws are passed by some states that imposes that medical malpractice lawyers cannot charge contingency fees. Some states who have imposed this law are California, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Florida. This law comprises different details in different states.
For instance, the Californian medical malpractice attorney can charge 40% fees from the initially recovered $50,000, 33% from the $50,000 recovered next, 25% from the next $50,000 recovered, and 15% if the next amount is greater than $600,000.