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How Much It Costs to Hire a Medical Malpractice Attorney

Updated June 27, 2020 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

A medical malpractice lawsuit is no walk in the park. These cases are complex affairs that require a thorough understanding of both the law and the field of medicine. On top of it all is the fact that the defendants in these cases are particularly determined to win against you.

While it is possible to enter a lawsuit without an attorney, walking into a court room without one is stressful. Hiring an experienced medical malpractice attorney is often the better option. Your lawyer can analyze the evidence, interview expert witnesses, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in the courtroom so that you can focus on healing instead of filing paperwork and reading legal documentation.

What Happens to Your Attorney Fees

Understandably, you might be intimidated about the cost of hiring a lawyer. If you’ve started looking around—especially if you’ve never set foot in court before—it can be hard to know what a fair rate is. While every medical malpractice law firm is different, there are some things that all personal injury attorneys will expect to spend some money on when working on your case:

  • Expert witnesses to appear at trials and depositions. Hiring witnesses can sometimes cost thousands of dollars an hour, and it’s not unusual for a witness to spend 20 to 30 hours on your case
  • Court filing fees
  • The cost of obtaining medical records from hospitals, which can vary depending on how many pages of records exist

Miscellaneous expenses, such as making photocopies of documents, may also come up in the process of defending a medical malpractice claim.

Two Payment Options in Indiana

In most arrangements, your lawyer will generally pay those costs upfront and you’ll have to cover them later. Injury attorneys want their clients to win and—let’s be honest—they want to get paid, too. Payment arrangement can be worked out in one of two ways: by the hour or via a contingency fee.

Hourly Arrangements

Some law firms will charge an hourly rate to work on your case that you’ll have to pay regardless of whether you win the lawsuit. If you’re working on an hourly arrangement, it’s possible that you’ll be responsible for your lawyer’s expenses. Most personal injury lawyers representing injured persons rarely work on an hourly rate.

Contingency Fees

The second option—which is much more common in personal injury cases—is called a contingency fee. What this means is that the amount you pay your attorney is dependent on the amount of money you’re awarded when your case is settled or when a verdict is delivered in court. In Indiana, this cost is typically around 33% of the damages, but it varies depending on the complexity of the case. In addition, your personal injury attorney will not get paid or reimbursed for their expenses if your case is unsuccessful in settlement or in court.

In a contingent arrangement, your attorney’s expenses and fees are taken out of your damages before they are ever given to you. You never have to write a check or pay for your attorney out of your pocket. For example, if case settles for $100,000, 33% will be the attorney’s fees ($33,000). Additional expenses might be taken out above the 33%, such as filing fees, court reporter fees, or expert witness fees. In such an example, and assuming there are no additional expenses, you would receive a check for $67,000.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of medical malpractice, contact the attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. An experienced Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyer at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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