Attorney Fees in Medical Malpractice Cases
June 24, 2020
WHAT ARE THE ATTORNEY FEES IN A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASE?
In New York, attorney fees in personal injury cases are on a contingency basis. That means that your attorney receives no money unless there is a successful conclusion (monetary recovery) either by settlement or jury verdict. Medical Malpractice cases are a specialized area of personal injury with a specific fee schedule often referred to as a “sliding scale”. The following will explain the sliding scale. We understand that this is a complicated system and, if you contact us, the Gordon Law Firm of New York LLP will be happy to explain more fully how it works. The Gordon Law Firm of New York, LLP offers no-cost, no-obligation consultations.
If there is a monetary recovery, expenses/disbursements come off the top of the recovery. The following is a general explanation of what constitutes expenses/disbursements. Please note that this is not a complete list and may vary from case to case. In every case, throughout the process, there are court costs involved that are paid by the attorney to the court. Obtaining medical records is necessary in any medical malpractice case and is another expense of the case. When we start a case the summons and complaint must be served on the defendants by a process server. That cost is another expense of the case. When we conduct the deposition of the defendant(s), there is a court reporter present to record the questions and answers. Following the deposition, we receive a transcript of everything that was said during the deposition, as recorded by the reporter. We pay for that transcript by the number of pages and that is also an expense charged to the case. Medical malpractice cases require one or more experts. We retain (hire) experts to review the medical records and, when necessary, to testify at trial. The experts charge for their time and that is another expense of the case. These are a few of the expenses that occur in most, if not all, cases.
There are, of course, also costs for postage and photocopying. The Gordon Law Firm of New York, LLP considers postage and photocopying as costs of doing business and will not charge them against your case, except in very rare circumstances where there are extraordinary costs for photocopying and/or postage.
After disbursements are deducted from the gross settlement or jury verdict, the sliding scale is applied. The relevant section of the law can be found in The New York State Judiciary Law, section 474-a and applies to fees in a medical, dental, or podiatric malpractice action. The attorney fee of the net amount (after deduction of disbursements) is as follows:
30 percent of the first $250,000 of the sum recovered;
25 percent of the next $250,000 of the sum recovered;
20 percent of the next $500,000 of the sum recovered;
15 percent of the next $250,000 of the sum recovered;
10 percent of any amount over $1,250,000 of the sum recovered.
The following is only an example to explain how the sliding scale works. It is not meant to indicate that these numbers will apply to your case.
In a hypothetical case, let's say a settlement was reached in the amount of $2,100,000.00 (two million one hundred thousand dollars). Expenses (disbursements) attributed to the case totaled $100,000.00 (one hundred thousand dollars). The math is done as follows:
$2,100,000.00 (settlement amount) minus $100,000.00 (expenses) equals $2,000,000.00.
Attorney fees are calculated as:
30% of $250,000.00, equals $75,000.00; plus
25% of $250,000.00 equals $62,500.00; plus
20% of $500,000.00 equals $100,000.00; plus
15% of $250,000.00 equals $37,500.00; plus
10% of $750,000.00 equals $75,000.00.
Total attorney fee $350,000.00.
You, the client will receive $1,650,000.00.
This is only an example for purposes of explanation. THE DOLLAR AMOUNTS USED IN THE HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE ARE NOT MEANT TO APPLY TO YOUR SPECIFIC CASE.