There is not a simple answer to this question because different medical malpractice lawyers charge different amounts, depending on limitations that may be imposed by the state in which they practice, whether the claim is made under the Federal Tort Claims Act which restricts the amounts that lawyers can charge for their services based on when and under what circumstances there is a financial recovery in the case, and based in part on the complexity of the potential medical malpractice claim and the likelihood of a recovery (a “recovery” in this context means an amount voluntarily paid in lump sum or over an extended period of time as a result of an agreement between the parties to settle the medical malpractice claim or paid in satisfaction of a judgment entered in favor of the medical malpractice claimant(s)).
Medical malpractice attorneys rarely charge an hourly rate for their services but may do so under some circumstances such as an agreement between the lawyer and his client for the lawyer to undertake certain investigations before filing a medical malpractice claim. Most often, medical malpractice lawyers charge a contingency fee, which is typically a set percentage of the gross recovery (“gross recovery” may include not only money paid directly to the claimant but may also include other benefits of monetary value to the claimant such as the forgiveness or reduction of outstanding medical bills owed by the claimant to the negligent health care provider(s)). Some medical malpractice attorneys charge differing contingency fee amounts if the case settles before the claim is filed in court, if the case settles after filing but before trial, or if the case is tried and results in a verdict in favor of the claimant(s). As stated above, some states’ laws and federal law for certain federal claims may establish the maximum contingency fee that a medical malpractice lawyer may charge for his services depending upon such factors as whether the claim is settled either before or after a lawsuit is filed or if the case is tried and results in a judgment in favor of the claimant(s).
Most medical malpractice lawyers also require that their clients reimburse them for reasonable and necessary claim expenses such as the costs for obtaining medical records, filing fees charged by the courts or others, the fees charged by medical and other experts hired to help present the claimants’ case, the costs of deposition transcripts (depositions are testimony taken under oath and recorded, usually before a court reporter and usually taken in a location other than a courtroom and without a judge or other court personnel present, during which the attorneys for the parties ask questions of the person being deposed (the “deponent”) and the deponent answers the questions under oath (under the penalties of perjury if the testimony is knowingly false)), copying expenses, and other expenses usually specified by the lawyer in the retainer agreement signed by the lawyer and his client(s) ( a “retainer agreement” is a written agreement setting forth the terms and conditions under which the parties agree that the medical malpractice lawyer will handle the client’s case).
Some medical malpractice lawyers may require that the potential client pay for the cost of obtaining relevant medical records and/or the initial review of the medical records by one or more medical experts to determine if the medical malpractice claim is viable and if the lawyer will take the case. It is important to know in advance what expenses and/or fees that the client will be responsible for and if the client will be responsible for them if the case is not successful or if the lawyer withdraws from the representation before the case is concluded (it is imperative that the retainer agreement specifically state which expenses and fees the client will be responsible for (and when) and whether the client will be responsible for the expenses or fees even if there is no monetary recovery).
If you think that you may have a possible medical malpractice claim, we can help you find a local medical malpractice lawyer who may be able to answer your medical malpractice questions and represent you with your claim. Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn: use our website for help finding medical malpractice lawyers in your local area or call us toll free 800-295-3959.