What are considered to be appropriate attorney fees for a malpractice case?

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What are considered to be appropriate attorney fees for a malpractice case?

My contract states my lawyer gets 40% of the first $50,000 but I only got $48,000 is the contract accurate? Also, the lawyer put down lawyer fees of $4,400 and that was not in the contract. Is that proper in these type cases? 

Asked on June 21, 2011 under Malpractice Law, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, your contract as you are calling - also known as a retainer agreement - is as I understand it correct as to the percentage.  This is known as a contingency based fee, meaning that if there is no recovery for you then there is no recovery for the attorney as well.  Many states allow the percentage of the fee to the attorney to be on a sliding scale basis.  It is mu understanding that in California the sliding scale fees may not exceed 40% of the $ 50,000, 1/3 of the next $ 50,000, 25% of the next $ 500,000, and 15% of damages exceeding $ 600,000. (Bus. & Prof. §6146).  The additional $4,400, though, has me perplexed.  Are they the costs and disbursements? They come off the top before fees are taken.  If you have questions ask your lawyer for a detailed explanation. In writing.

 


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