Malpractice attorneys will typically charge on a “contingency” basis, which means they will take a percentage of the final award in your case.
The attorney fees for malpractice cases will typically be 40% of whatever financial award the client receives.
Compensation in malpractice cases may include awards for: actual damages suffered (i.e. medical, employment, financial), emotional damages (pain and suffering, loss of a loved one, embarrassment), and, in rare instances, punitive damages (damages to punish the offender and serve as an example to deter others from acting similarly).
Attorneys typically charge for expenses incurred on behalf of clients. These expenses may include copying charges, long-distance phone charges, postage, faxes, court filing fees, the cost of court reporters, expert witness fees, medical report fees, and other expenses associated with handling your case.
If your attorney works on contingency, you will be asked to sign a contingency fee contract. Make sure you understand the terms of the contract before signing. Also, request a copy of the contract for your records.
If your attorney will be charging by the hour, ask him/her to put the fee arrangement in writing. This will help you and your attorney clarify what you will be charged for, when you are expected to pay your invoices, and what you should do if you have a concern about the fees.
You may also be asked to sign releases for obtaining medical records, lost wage information, or other personal records.