Who will pay the expense?
In most cases the attorney will advance all the expenses or “costs” of the case, and then be reimbursed for these costs out of the recovery. Because of the complexities and proof requirements in malpractice cases, these out-of-pocket costs spent by the attorney on things like medical records, court reporters, expert witnesses, travel, and trial exhibits, can easily be in the tens of thousands of dollars. In the more complicated cases, these “costs” can exceed one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00). This reimbursement for expenses is usually at the end of the case and is in addition to the attorney’s fee percentage, which pays the attorney for the time and effort he spends on your case. In some regions of the country if there is no recovery the client must ultimately reimburse the lawyer for the expenses, even though no attorney’s fee is owed and the client recovers nothing in the case. In other places, if the case is lost the client owes nothing for the expenses and the lawyer simply absorbs the loss. Make sure you understand the arrangement on the front end of your case.
The Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct will permit a lawyer to advance the costs and expenses of the case and not charge his client for those expenses at the end of the case if there is no recovery. If there is a recovery, the lawyer gets paid back for the costs and expenses out of the recovery. This is in addition to the attorneys fee percentage, which is what pays the lawyer for his services. Most experienced medical malpractice attorneys will handle it this way, however, it is a matter of what is in your contract and there are still some attorneys in Georgia who require their clients to advance costs at the start of the case, or as the case proceeds, or at the end of the case, even if they lose the case. This is always negotiable and in Georgia our advice is that if the attorney you are dealing with won’t agree to advance the expenses, and write them off if the case is lost, we recommend that you consider finding another attorney who will.
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This site contains only general information and is not intended to constitute specific legal advice or establish an attorney/client relationship. Malpractice laws are constantly changing. If you think you may have a malpractice case you should promptly contact a lawyer experienced in handling malpractice cases.
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