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How Much Does a Medical Malpractice or Vehicle Accident Lawyer Cost?

“How much will it cost?” That’s a question we ask about everything, especially services. We want to know the amount of money we’re going to have to part with ahead of time to get the job done.

In the realm of legal services, the answer can be one of three options. An attorney may charge a fixed rate for a service such as writing a will. That’s a fairly standard process where that attorney is completing a form and making sure everything is stated correctly. A second billing method is an hourly charge. For example, an attorney may charge a small business owner an hourly rate to review a contract with a vendor. The third type of billing method is a contingency fee arrangement.

A contingency fee arrangement is often used in personal injury and medical malpractice cases. This includes car accidents, slip and falls, premise liability, and other incidents that cause serious injury.

What is a Contingent Fee?

A contingency fee agreement is a form of billing in which an attorney is paid a percentage of the damages awarded at the conclusion of the case. In contingency arrangements, the attorney agrees to take on the case without charging their regular hourly fees. That percentage is typically a third of the damages awarded.

So, with a contingency fee, payment for your attorney’s services is “contingent upon” you receiving some amount of compensation. This may be a jury verdict or a settlement.

For example, if you sue a physician and a hospital for medical malpractice, and the jury awards you $300,000, with a contingency fee arrangement, the attorney would receive a third or $100,000.

Litigation Expenses

It’s important to understand that even if an attorney is willing to work on a contingency, there are always costs associated with bringing a personal injury lawsuit. These can include the following:

  • Court and filing fees, such as the fee for filing the complaint with the court;
  • Discovery costs include the charges for hiring a court reporter and paying for a deposition transcript and travelling to out-of-state depositions;
  •  Expert witnesses charge several thousand dollars to review a case, prepare reports, provide testimony at deposition, and testify at trial;
  • Collecting evidence. This includes obtaining copies of public documents, medical records, legal research, private investigator fees, and other data; and
  • Overhead and incidentals are things such as copying costs, postage, and travel expenses.

The client is responsible for litigation expenses, however, most attorneys will cover the expenses throughout the duration of the case and expect to be reimbursed from the award from settlement or trial. If the case is unsuccessful, the client is responsible for payment of these expenses.

What are the Advantages of Using Contingency Fees?

Contingency fee arrangements have a number of advantages for clients:

  • There are no up-front fees. In other types of cases, you may be required to pay an attorney a retainer, which is a down payment on the bill for his or her services. Plus, if you are being charged hourly, you may get a monthly bill while your case is still ongoing.
  • When an attorney doesn’t get paid until you win, they are motivated to do their best.
  • There’s no large attorney fee if you lose. If you don’t get a successful outcome, there won’t be a big attorney’s fee (however, you will have the expenses to pay as discussed above).

Contact Buchanan Law Firm

If you or a loved one has suffered harm due to an injury or complication you believe was an error by the physician, surgeon, or hospital—or you or a loved one has been involved in a serious car accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Buchanan Firm in Michigan for a free consultation.

Our firm serves Michiganders all over the state, including in major cities like Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Detroit, Lansing, Holland, St. Joe, and Ann Arbor, and rural towns such as Lowell, Ada, Fremont, Newaygo, Grand Haven, Rockford, and Cedar Springs. We will meet you after-hours, at home or in the hospital to accommodate you.