In the majority of cases, if you’re the one filing the medical malpractice lawsuit (as opposed to the one being sued), getting a lawyer to represent you won’t cost anything. That’s because most medical malpractice attorneys represent plaintiffs under a contingency agreement.
In a typical contingency agreement, the attorney agrees to represent the client without charging legal fees, and the client agrees to pay the attorney an agreed-upon percentage of any settlement or jury award the client ends up receiving.
If the case is not successful (meaning there is no settlement or judgment awarded), then there is no legal fee - although terms of the agreement may make the client responsible for court costs and other incidentals, so check the fine print.
It’s important to note that a number of states (around 15) have passed laws that limit the percentage an attorney can take for representing a successful medical malpractice plaintiff. (Check out medical malpractice laws in your state.)
For example, in California, the state’s Business & Professions Code section 6146 sets a sliding scale limit on attorney fee percentages in medical malpractice cases, as follows:
(1) Forty percent of the first $50,000 recovered.
(2) Thirty-three and one-third percent of the next $50,000 recovered.
(3) Twenty-five percent of the next $500,000 recovered.
(4) Fifteen percent of any amount on which the recovery exceeds $600,000.