Legal Fees In Wrongful Death

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Legal Fees In Wrongful Death

About 7 years ago, my niece died from a blood clot. She had a disabled daughter who is 16 years old today. When the child was only a few years old, the father was incarcerated and is still in jail today. So the child has multiple disabilities and is without biological parents. She currently lives with my sister who is her greataunt. A couple of years ago, a lawyer started pursuing a wrongful death claim. I’m not sure how he was contacted or selected but it appears there is a settlement. I had an opportunity to review the settlement. The total is $500,000 and the lawyer is receiving about %150,000. His itemized bill shows only about 40 hours of work but the bulk of the fee is a standard 1/3 roughly. It appears the judge has assigned a law guardian for the child. Can the law guardian request a different fee for the lawyer? The sum of $150,000 for 40 hours of work seems excessive. I’m not saying not to pay the lawyer a fair rate but the child is disabled.

Asked on September 28, 2016 under Malpractice Law, New York


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

It is unlikely that the fee can be renegotiated because it was agreed to in a retainer agreement with the attorney.
In these types of cases, the attorney charges a contingency fee (percentage of recovery) instead of an hourly rate.  If nothing had been recovered, the attorney would not have received any compensation.  That is the risk with contingency fees.
The guardian ad litem, appointed by the judge, will represent the child's interests in the case because she is a minor.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption