What is the Legal Fee in a Medical Malpractice Case in Kingston, New York?

The legal fee in a medical malpractice case in New York is NOT one-third. 

Under New York law, the legal fee is determined by what is called the “sliding scale”.  Under New York law, the legal fee begins at thirty percent for the first $250,000 that is recovered and goes down in increments of 5% as you recover money to as low as 10% for any recovery that is above $1,250,000.  You pay a legal fee that is 30% of the first $250,000; 25% of the sum that is between $250,000 and $500,000; 20% between $500,000 and $1,000,000; 15% between $1,000,000 and $1,250,000; and 10% for any sum of money above $1,250,000.

Let’s say, for example, that you recover $850,000 in your malpractice lawsuit.  The legal fee is

  • 30% of the first $250,000, or $75,000;
  • 25% between $250,000 and $500,000 or $62,500; and
  • 20% between $500,000 and $850,000, or $70,000. 

In this example, the total legal fee is $207,500, which is 24.4% of the total recovery.

As you recover more money, the percentage of the legal fee goes down.  For example, if you recover $1,500,000, the legal fee is $300,000, which is 20% of the total recovery.  As you can see, the legal fee went down from 24.4% with a recovery of $850,000 to 20% with a recovery of $1,500,000.

The most important thing is to keep the retainer agreement in a safe deposit box and review of a copy of it.  You need to make sure you understand the retainer agreement and how the legal fee will be determined at the end of your case.