What is the amount of the legal fee in medical malpractice cases?

In medical malpractice lawsuits in New York, the legal fee is not one-third of your net recovery. This is a shocker to some of our new clients who assume that the legal fee is the usual one-third that they hear about in the newspaper or media.

The legal fee in medical malpractice lawsuits is based on a sliding scale under New York's Judiciary Law with a maximum legal fee of 30% of the net recovery to a low of 10% of the net recovery depending on the amount of the monetary recovery.  The percentage of the legal fee becomes less as the amount of the recovery increases. For example, the legal fee is 30% of the first $250,000, 25% of the next $250,000 (between $250,000 and $500,000), and 20% of the next $500,000 (between $500,000 and $1,000,000), 15% of the next $250,000 (between $1,000,000 and $1,250,000) and 10% for the sums of money exceeding $1,250,000.

The "sliding scale" should be clearly set forth in the retainer agreement with your lawyer.  YOU SHOULD READ THE RETAINER AGREEMENT CAREFULLY and keep an original in a safe place.  The retainer agreement sets forth the terms of the legal fee and your responsibilities, if any, to reimburse the law firm for case expenses incurred in the handling of your case.