and Costs in a Medical Malpractice Case
Unlike virtually all other
cases, medical malpractice cases are some
of the most expensive and risky cases a
lawyer can handle. Not only does the lawyer
have to learn and understand the medicine
as well as a doctor, but he must invest
a tremendous amount of skill, time, money
and effort to be successful with these cases.
Most lawyers who handle medical
malpractice cases on behalf of patients
do so on a contingency fee basis. That means
that the lawyer only charges a fee if a
recovery is made. If no recovery is made,
then the client owes the lawyer nothing.
Since most experienced medical
malpractice attorneys typicallly invest
between $30,000 and $70,000 of their own
money per medical malpractice case, the
contingency fee charged is usually at least
40% of the total recovery. The amount of
fee charged must reflect the amount of money
being risked and the amount of skill and
effort to achieve a successful result.
Although the medical expert
witnesses are the single most expensive
part of the case, other costs can also be
significant. For instance, the medical records
alone can cost a thousand dollars to copy.
Multiply that cost times the number of copies
which will be needed at trial for exhibits
and copies for the judge or juryand the
copy costs alone can be several thousand
Travel costs are always an
added source of expense. Since most experts
are out of town, travel arrangements must
be made for the taking of their deposition.At
trial, part of the medical records will
need to be enlarged and mounted for easy
viewing by the judge or jury. Also, medical
graphic charts demonstrating the anatomy
or the area of the body involved are very
expensive to purchase. ome medical illustrations
can cost $1,000 each.
In a complicated case, an
animation film may need to be produced so
the jury can visualize the procedure that
was ongoing at the time of the medical error.
A single animation can cost $10,000.Expensive
video and projection equipment will be necessary
at trial to show the exhibits and animations
prepared for the jury. High tech computer
software can lso organize and illustrate
medical records with a click of a mouse.
If lost wages are a component
of damages, expert economists or vocational
rehabilation expert testimony may be necessary.
If the patient is in need substantial medical
care for the rest of his life, an expert
life care planner will need to prepare a
detailed report itemizing the expenses which
will be incurred o care for the patient.
These reports typically cost about $10,000.
Medical malpractice cases
are among the most expensive cases to try.
Thus, an experienced medical malpractice
attorney with sufficient resources to fund
he case expenses is critical to a successful