Can I Afford to Hire a Medical Malpractice Attorney?
If your lawyer is paid only if they win your medical malpractice case how much they will be paid? The answer is it depends. Some states have a statute or court rule that establishes a specific limit or sliding scale on contingency fees attorneys may charge if they win a claimant's medical malpractice claim. In some states, if the sliding scale is used there is a limit on the top amount paid which is based on the compensation awarded. For instance, in some states the medical malpractice lawyer will get 33 and 1/3% of the first $ 300,000, 25% of the next $ 300,000, 20% of the next $ 300,000, 15% of the next $ 300,000 and 10% of amounts exceeding $ 1,250,000.
Some state will limit the total amount paid to the medical malpractice lawyer at one third, regardless of the recovery. Other states allow a court to authorize a larger fee, while other states allow the client and attorney to contract for a larger fee. Still others require or authorize court approval of the reasonableness of attorney fees under various circumstances. These states include Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and Washington.
If you have questions about how an injury lawyer will be compensated it is important to talk to the medical malpractice lawyer, make sure you understand your state's laws and make sure you sign a fee agreement before they began working on your medical malpractice case.
Benefits of a contingency fee agreement
Medical malpractice lawyers often agree to work on contingency because it allows the claimant to hire them without giving them money up front. Another benefit for the claimant is they do not have to pay the lawyer if they do not win their case, and the lawyer will be highly motivated to work hard for their client because the more compensation they can win for the client, the more money they are paid.
There are also disadvantages of this compensation system. For instance, if the attorney does not win the medical malpractice case, they are not paid. For the client, if they do not have a great case it may be difficult for them to find a lawyer who is willing to help them with their medical malpractice case. Additionally, if a medical malpractice case is settled quickly, the claimant may not feel like the attorney earned their fee, and in some cases, it might have been cheaper if the claimant had simply paid the medical malpractice lawyer an hourly fee.
If you think your medical malpractice case might be settled quickly you can discuss whether the lawyer might be willing to work on a graduated scale and take a smaller percentage if the medical malpractice case settles quickly. This option, however, should be discussed prior to hiring a lawyer.
What if you cannot get a medical malpractice lawyer to take your case? If you have talked to several lawyers and not one is willing to take your medical malpractice case this could be an indication that you do not have a strong medical malpractice case and the medical malpractice lawyer does not believes they can win. In some cases you may be able to hire a lawyer who charges by the hour, but in this case you would be required to pay a retainer fee up front for their services.
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