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Medical Malpractice Attorney Fees
People seek the services of doctors and hospitals to improve their health. Most of the time, medical professionals are successful at helping patients recover from injury and illness. But sometimes, through omission or negligence, a health care provider causes harm to a patient. When this happens, it is the patient's right to hire a lawyer and file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the medical professional and/or the hospital. Below you'll find information about medical malpractice lawyers, including how much they cost.
Types of Medical Malpractice Cases
Medical malpractice, also called medical negligence, takes many forms, and no two cases are exactly the same. The following is a list of common medical negligence cases that a medical malpractice lawyer can represent you in:
- Incorrect or delayed diagnosis
- Surgical error
- Unnecessary surgical procedure
- Anesthesia errors
- Birth injuries
- Medication errors
- Nursing home mistreatment
- Performing unapproved medical procedures
This is just a partial list of injurious actions that you may consider consulting medical malpractice attorneys in response to. In general, medical negligence can be said to occur when a health care professional deviates from the duty of care owed to patients.
Types of Compensation Available in Medical Negligence Cases
When you take legal action against a health care provider there are two main types of monetary compensation that a medical practice attorney can recover on your behalf: monetary and non-monetary damages.
- Monetary damages: So-called monetary or economic damages are those losses that correspond with a specific amount of money, such as medical bills, lost wages (included impaired earning ability), and the cost of rehabilitation.
- Non-monetary damages: Non-economic damages are losses that have a subjective value, including physical and mental pain and suffering, diminished enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and disfigurement.
Medical Malpractice Lawyer Average Costs
Now that you understand what constitutes medical malpractice and the types of damages a plaintiff is eligible to recover in a medical malpractice suit, a discussion of lawyer fees is in order.
If billed hourly, you might pay approximately $100 to $400 per hour to retain a medical malpractice law firm. For the most part, however, medical malpractice lawsuits are accepted on a contingency basis. This means that you pay an attorney a percentage (typically around 20 to 35 percent) of your settlement. Under this arrangement, if a medical malpractice firm does not secure compensation on your behalf, you pay nothing.
To illustrate how this works, assume a medical lawsuit settlement of $1 million and a contingency fee of 30 percent:
After paying a lawyer, your net settlement would be $700,000.
One final point concerns additional fees associated with medical lawsuits. Aside from the cost of hiring an attorney, it is also necessary to pay fees that include:
- Court filing fees
- Court reporter fees
- Expert witness fees
- Copy fees
- Travel expenses
The cost of a deposition (a meeting between the parties and their lawyers where witnesses are questioned under oath) and expert witnesses alone can be in the tens of thousands of dollars. Medical negligence attorneys may front the initial costs and recover them as part of the contingency fee. But, make sure that a contract detailing the billing specifics is drawn up and signed before the case begins.