Posted By Steven Langer
If you suspect that you’re a victim of medical malpractice, you will likely have to hire an attorney to help resolve your claim. Fees are a reality, yes, but you will probably need an advocate to navigate through the complex claim process, while you focus on what is in your best interest. Indiana law requires that you put your relationship with your attorney in writing if your claim has potential merit. This is why partnering with an attorney who has a track record in handling malpractice cases could give you a competitive edge in hopefully resolving a medical-negligence claim.
Most people cannot afford the hourly rate for an attorney or the expenses involved in pursuing a medical malpractice case, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars and be very risky. Medical-malpractice cases generally involve hours upon hours of work—whether it be research, responding to or drafting discovery requests, motions, preparing and taking depositions, or prepping for trial—the time involved is typically substantial. But those hours are time well spent for a victim who has suffered harm at the hands of negligent healthcare providers.
This is why almost all injured patients and their attorneys enter into a “contingent-fee agreement.” This means that the attorney pays the costs of all expenses up-front on behalf of their injured client. If the claim results in no recovery (award), the patient does not owe the attorney anything—under a contingent-fee agreement, the attorney or law firm accepts all of the risk associated with pursuing the case.
However, if the claim results in a recovery, the attorney would be entitled to be reimbursed a percentage of the total recovery, plus their expenses. Indiana has special laws on the amount an attorney can charge a patient in a medical malpractice case. Recently, the Indiana legislature adjusted the total amount of attorney fees recoverable under a medical-malpractice action. As of 2017, attorney fees will be capped at 32 percent of any recovery amount for a medical malpractice claim against a healthcare provider who is properly qualified under Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act.
Keep in mind that you should always be able to review a fee agreement with an attorney and have all your questions answered before you sign. You should feel comfortable asking your questions until they are clearly answered to your satisfaction. Filing a medical malpractice claim can be a complex and involved process, and you need to be able to rely on a trusted attorney.
The attorneys at Langer and Langer have handled all kinds of medical-malpractice claims throughout Indiana. If you have further questions about Indiana’s medical-malpractice laws, feel free to contact our offices.