Most attorneys who believe a case has merit will take the case without payment up front. They will take the case on a contingency basis, which means they will receive a percentage of your award if and when you recover for your injuries. Contingency fees average between 25 and 40 percent. New Jersey has set limits on the amount of contingent fees an attorney may charge in a negligence action. The most current schedule is as follows: (a) 33 1/3 percent of the first $500,000, (b) 30 percent of the second $500,000, (c) 25 percent of the third $500,000, (d) 20 percent of the fourth $500,000, and (e) a reasonable amount approved by the court for amounts in excess of $2,000,000. If you and your attorney agree to a contingency fee, the attorney must put the agreement in writing and provide you with a signed copy. Some attorneys may charge an hourly fee or a flat fee for their services.
Out of pocket expenses include such things as filing fees, deposition fees, expert witness fees, exhibit costs, copying charges, and other similar expenses. The attorney`s out of pocket costs are, in many cases, not included in the attorney`s fees. You should be sure to pay attention to how an attorney will bill you for costs. In a medical malpractice case, these expenses can be quite high due to the need for expert testimony and because they are hard fought cases, which in many cases do not settle until they have been thoroughly litigated. Many attorneys will decline a case unless there is potential for a substantial verdict or settlement.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified medical malpractice lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local medical malpractice attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.