Suffering from a medical malpractice injury can leave you physically debilitated and potentially traumatized. The people you are supposed to trust to care for you and help you get well can sometimes make terrible mistakes that constitute negligence. If you or someone you love has fallen victim to a medical malpractice event, you need information. A good place to start is with your potential medical malpractice lawsuit cost and associated fees.
Cost of a Medical Malpractice Claim
Victims of medical malpractice have enough to worry about without figuring out whether a medical malpractice claim is affordable. However, money can be a deciding factor for many victims of medical malpractice. There are several factors you must take into consideration to understand the true medical malpractice lawsuit cost.
Whether you and your loved ones suffer from a misdiagnosis or a preventable birth injury, understanding the costs associated with your upcoming medical malpractice claim is key. It is important to work with an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can transparently and empathetically explain the processes and costs associated with your case.
One of the biggest questions surrounding medical malpractice law is, how much are lawyers' fees?
Many medical malpractice law firms (including us) operate on a contingency fee arrangement, which is excellent news for most clients. A contingency fee means that your personal injury lawyer will take your case without requiring an upfront payment. Your lawyer's payment will come from your case's damage awards or medical malpractice settlement.
Since your medical malpractice lawyer only gets paid when you do, they are unlikely to take your case if they do not think you will win. Your lawyer will ask you to sign a contingency fee agreement as a condition of service. This agreement will outline the terms of your contingency arrangement, including the amount to be taken from your claim's awards or settlement.
Often, the contingency fee is set as a percentage of your award or settlement.
Court Filing Fee
Your legal team will add court filing fees to your medical malpractice claim bill. These fees vary between states. For example, California medical malpractice attorneys may have different filing fees at a California court compared to a New York court.
In general, court filing fees are minimal expenses in a legal claim. For example, civil court filing fees in California can range from no fee to $1,000, or an amount set by the court.
There may be additional incidental fees, such as small fees for certifying a record — $25 in California — or preparing a copy of a record — $0.50. These incidental fees may be grouped with your court filing fee.
Court filing fees are necessary for a medical malpractice case, and there is no practical way to avoid them entirely.
Expert Witness Fees
Each medical malpractice case is unique. Sometimes, it is strategically wise to call upon an expert witness. An expert witness for a medical malpractice claim could be any of the following:
- General Surgeon
- Orthopedic surgeon
Expert witnesses command a relatively high hourly rate. These rates generally range from around $300 to $1500 per hour, but depending on the expert witness's occupation, that fee could range significantly.
Not every medical malpractice case requires hiring expert witnesses. However, if your case is stronger with an expert witness, it is a well-spent expense. For example, if you suffered from a failure to diagnose, it could be wise to find an expert witness who claims the failure was negligent. Securing a positive jury verdict should be your main goal.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Medical Malpractice Suits
The cost of a medical malpractice lawsuit is comprised of more than the above fees. There are additional factors that could impact your overall medical malpractice lawsuit cost. These factors can vary between cases based on unique details, such as whether you are suing a doctor or suing a hospital for pain and suffering.
The Severity and Type of Injury the Injured Patient Endured
Different injuries can affect the cost entailed in suing for malpractice. More severe injuries are more likely to garner greater rewards from the court or settlement agreements from the insurance company or other involved parties.
Additionally, some claims are more complicated than others. If your case involves rare factors, it may be more difficult to research or find an appropriate expert witness who can testify on your behalf.
Each of these issues can affect the final cost of your medical malpractice suit.
Health Care Providers Involved in the Case
Depending on your case, you may bring a suit against a nurse, a doctor, or the entire hospital. Regardless of which type of medical professional you are suing, your lawyer must investigate the details of their negligence. You might have multiple parties involved in your medical malpractice case if numerous individuals failed to provide you with the expected standard of care.
Negligent care from multiple parties can sometimes complicate your case. This is partly because more parties mean more work for your lawyer. If the negligent party provided you with subpar medical care that resulted in injury or increased medical bills, your attorney must understand each detail of your case precisely.
The Time Required To Prepare for Trial and Acquire Medical Records
A complicated case is not necessarily bad, but it does mean more work for your legal team. There is paperwork to file to ensure your case is submitted before your statute of limitations expires. There are laws to research and files to track down. Your lawyer may need to interview witnesses and prepare legal arguments.
Your medical malpractice attorney will handle all of these concerns so you can focus on your recovery. However, the longer it takes your lawyer to prepare for trial and attain the necessary documents, the more expensive your case will become. Luckily, you are still operating on a contingency fee basis, so these fees will be taken from your final award or settlement.
Are You Looking for a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?
If you or a loved one were injured due to medical professionals failing to provide the expected standard of care, you should seek legal representation. Not all injuries that occur at the hands of medical professionals are cause for a malpractice suit. However, they are certainly worth investigating.
If you have been injured and believe a medical professional is at fault, you may be eligible to bring a malpractice claim against the responsible parties. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help. The legal team at Ratzan Weissman & Boldt is a nationwide practice specializing in medical malpractice lawsuits around the country.
Contact us today for your free initial consultation.