Many injured patients are afraid to contact a medical malpractice attorney because they fear that suing their negligent doctor will be too expensive. In fact, fear of being unable to afford an attorney permeates throughout all areas of legal practice.
Patients harmed by negligent doctors should not fear the costs of litigation. This is because experienced Kingston, New York medical malpractice attorneys will not bill the injured patient up front, nor will the client have to pay hourly fees. The victim will instead be billed on a contingency fee basis. Additionally, there is a sliding scale system in New York that limits the amount of compensation that which the medical malpractice attorney may receive.
First let us explain the contingency fee system. This is a fee arrangement under which the plaintiff’s attorney will not be paid for his or her legal services unless the plaintiff receives compensation from the defendant. The plaintiff must win the trial or receive a settlement. The plaintiff’s attorney will receive a percentage of the amount received from the defendant.
Typically, the attorney will ask for a third of the award. The contingence fee arrangement must be in writing and it must state the percentage that which the attorney will receive. The arrangement will also state whether or not costs and fees incurred by the attorney must be paid out of the award. Also, the arrangement must state if those costs and fees will be given to the attorney before or after the percentage fee is assessed.
That is contingency fee agreements in a nutshell. But as stated above, New York has a sliding scale system for medical malpractice cases. This system was established by section 474-a of the Judiciary Law. This law states the maximum percentage an attorney can charge; the percentage will vary depending on the amount of money awarded to the plaintiff.
Here is how it works:
- The first $250,000 that the injured plaintiff receives allows the attorney to charge a 30% fee.
- The next $250,000 places a cap of 25% on the attorney’s fee.
- The next $500,000 has a maximum 20% fee.
- The next $250,000 has a maximum 15% fee.
- Finally, amounts in excess of $1.25 million can only have a 10% attorney fee.
As you can tell, as the plaintiff’s compensation gets larger the percentage the attorney can charge gets lower and therefore the plaintiff will be able to keep more of the compensation he or she received. While the system may seem complicated, it is ultimately for the plaintiff’s benefit.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.