How Much Do Medical Malpractice Attorneys Usually Cost?
Have you been the victim of medical malpractice in Baltimore? It’s more common than you might think. Despite the fact that over 200,000 people a year die from medical malpractice in the United States, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of others who suffered unnecessarily, very few of these cases actually result in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Why aren’t people calling medical malpractice attorneys right away?
There are several reasons. Many times families attribute these unfortunate results to factors outside the hospital’s control, or they feel bad for the doctor in question. Families may not wish to dwell on the loss of a loved one or the consequences of a malpractice case and feel that a drawn-out legal case would exacerbate their pain. Make no mistake, hiring a malpractice attorney is the right course of action, and it doesn’t have to cost you.
How Much do Medical Malpractice Attorneys Usually Cost in Baltimore?
Typical Lawyer Fees Don’t Apply to Medical Malpractice Cases
Lawyers in Maryland typically charge anywhere from $188 an hour to a whopping $447 per hour. Baltimore tends to skew higher than the state average. However, these hourly rates don’t usually apply to malpractice cases. Hourly rates are much more common when the client is a defendant and there are no damages to sue for. For example, hiring a lawyer to defend you in traffic court will cost you plenty, but could save you from losing your license.
In contrast, medical malpractice suits can result in significant payouts for the plaintiff. We’ll take a closer look at what you can claim in your lawsuit and how much you can sue for later. Let’s start with how a medical malpractice suit works and how much you can expect to pay for an attorney’s services.
Consultation and Evaluation First
Since you’re going to sue for damages, there is the potential for a large payout if your suit is successful. Therefore, the first thing a medical malpractice lawyer will do is sit down with you to discuss your case and determine whether it merits further evaluation. The initial consultation is key, so make sure you have documents that outline your case. You should bring your diagnosis or documents that certify the circumstances that led to your malpractice.
It’s important to establish your previous medical history as well. The hospital’s legal team will attempt to prove that your injuries were the result of preexisting conditions or some action on your part. Document your behavior after your medical intervention as much as possible. If you can bring a solid case to the table during the consultation, your attorney will be able to evaluate the case and determine whether it is likely to result in a settlement in your favor.
How Do Medical Malpractice Attorneys Charge Clients?
If you don’t have to pay hourly legal fees, how does your medical malpractice attorney charge you? Essentially, your attorney assumes an amount of risk in taking your case. There is always the possibility that you will not be awarded any compensation, and your attorney will have supported you to no avail. However, at Angelos Law, we have an excellent track record with such cases. When we decide to side with a client, it’s because we’re confident we’ll deliver.
Lawyers’ Fees Apply When You Win
If your case proves fruitful, then your attorney will assess fees after the fact. These fees will be deducted from the amount you were awarded. There are two types of fees that are usually assessed. One is based on the lawyer’s hourly rate and represents what you would have paid for their services had you paid up front.
These legal fees vary significantly from case to case. Some cases are clear cut and require fewer hours to develop, while others can be quite complex and involve additional services. For example, your lawyer might need to consult medical experts to provide testimony in support of your case. These experts need to be paid as well for their time, which will be included in your lawyers’ fees. After these fees, your lawyer may have contingency fees based on your results.
Contingency fees, as their name implies, are contingent on the results of your case. These fees are agreed upon before retaining your lawyer, meaning they can be negotiated and you’re free to compare other attorney’s services. Contingency fees are percentage-based. For example, if your case led to a $100,000 award, and your attorney assessed $10,000 in service fees, then $90,000 would be subject to contingency fees. A fee of 20% of that amount would deduct $18,000 from your award.
These fees give your lawyer an incentive to push for more compensation for you. If your lawyer only took fees for their services, they’d have no further interest in your case. So while a percentage may seem high to you at first, remember that the same fee is going to get you the best representation possible. And if your case fails, you won’t have to pay it at all.
How Much Can You Sue for in a Medical Malpractice Claim?
With a better understanding of the fees that you face in a medical malpractice lawsuit, the question then becomes how much can you sue for. After all, if lawyers’ fees are only paid if you win your case, and contingency fees are based on the final awarded amount, then the total value of your claim becomes immensely important. That value is determined by two factors: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic Damages in Malpractice Suits
Economic damages are quantifiable and difficult to dispute. You can usually document these easily, so there’s little doubt and they’re likely to be awarded if the court rules in your favor. The most obvious example is your medical debt or bills accrued from your hospital stay. The medical treatment you received leading up to your malpractice incident can be considered as part of your claim, although the court will ultimately decide how much can be admitted in your award.
However, that’s not where economic damages end. If you were unable to work due to a delayed recovery as a result of malpractice, those lost wages could also be considered. If you couldn’t even clean your home and hired a housekeeper or babysitter, those costs could also be included. Even your transportation to and from the hospital for extra visits may be considered. Keep receipts and document these expenses as much as possible.
Non-economic damages are those which cannot be quantified. Most Baltimore lawyers refer to these damages as “pain and suffering”. They’re meant to compensate you for the discomfort and loss of quality of life as a result of your malpractice. The state of Maryland has imposed a limit of $845,000 per case for pain and suffering payments. However, there is no limit to how much the court can award for economic damages.
The Most Successful Case Starts With Representation
If you want to have the best chance at succeeding in your medical malpractice claim, you need the services of a talented, experienced medical malpractice attorney. Call Peter Angelos Law of Baltimore, MD today to find out more about how we handle these cases and how we can help you get what you deserve.