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What Are The Typical Attorney Fees For A Medical Malpractice Case?

Hospitals and doctors are expensive, and can be even more of a burden when something goes wrong. Through medical malpractice lawsuits, patients and their families can recover financial compensation after a medical injury. But lawyers are often expensive—what if you can’t afford an attorney?

You can read more details about “medmal” lawyer costs across the country here. Since the costs of a medical malpractice attorney can vary by state and city, it is important to talk to a California medical malpractice lawyer in a city near you to get legal advice about your injury case. You can also read more about how to pick the right medical malpractice attorney here.

California Medical Malpractice Attorney Fees

Contingency fee agreements are agreements that an attorney has with their client regarding the payment of the attorney fees. It is not based on the usual hourly rate of the attorney. Rather, the attorney is paid if and when the client recovers on the claim. 

California has a limit on the amount lawyers can collect pursuant to a contingent fee arrangement in a medical malpractice case. This limit applies regardless of how the recovery is made (i.e., settlement, arbitration, or judgment). The payment is based on the following schedule:

  • 40% of the first $50,000 
  • 33 ⅓ % of the next $50,000 
  • 25% of the next $500,000 
  • 15% of any recovery over $600,000

If the contingent fee agreement provides for periodic payments, the court can place a total value on the payments, based on the client’s life-expectancy, then determine the contingent fee amounts. 

Some attorneys provide for a different percentage if the case is settled early or if the case goes to trial. Generally, even under contingency fee arrangements, the client is ultimately responsible for out of pocket expenses such as filing fees, copying costs, deposition and expert costs, etc. For more information on contingency fees, please consult an attorney in your area.