Money Matters: Kingston, Medical Malpractice Attorney Discusses Finances in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Besides getting questions related to lawsuits, I typically get questions regarding money about various financial issues relating to medical malpractice lawsuits. I realize that I haven’t actually addressed these questions on my blog yet. So I’ll post a response here, and I hope that it helps answer any questions my current clients have, but also any potential clients might have!
Essentially with your lawsuit, the biggest thing that matters is your “net recovery.” This is simply the amount of money that goes directly into your pocket after the payment of legal fees and expenses. So how do you use this to your advantage? Well, if your attorney wants to settle your case, before you respond you can ask him or her “what will my net recovery be if we accept this settlement offer today?” This will force the attorney to deduct case expenses and legal fees so you will know what you will ACTUALLY get put into your pocket.
Another common question is “what do you pay your lawyer if you fire them?” This is another good question because if you have retained your lawyer on a contingency basis—meaning they get a portion of your fee—and you fire them before the conclusion of your case, do they get nothing? No—you still have to pay your ex-attorney. However, you really still have all the power. Your ex-attorney will likely insist on still getting a percentage of the legal fee that will be a smaller percentage than a normal contingency fee. But you can opt to pay the ex-attorney on what is called a per diem rate, which is just based on their normal pay for hourly work performed.
The last and scary question is what does the client own the lawyer if the case is lost? Here is where the retainer—which is the initial agreement of how the client will pay the attorney—is the main source of information and might vary from attorney to attorney. For example, if the attorney is paid hourly that will be pretty easy to figure out. But most commonly in medical malpractice cases it will be on contingency. But you will also have to pay other disbursements such as case fees, research, filing, etc. Attorneys are ethically mandated to recover these, however if your case is lost, an attorney might be less pressing to actually recover those. Most contingency fee cases are one-third, however, medical malpractice cases follow a special, leveled reimbursement structure from the judiciary law. The most important thing if for you, the client, to read the retainer agreement carefully!
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! I welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org . 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.