What costs should I expect in a medical malpractice case?

by John D. Holschuh Jr., Lawyer Referral Service Panelist 

Most medical malpractice cases are handled on a contingency basis. This means that attorney fees are only paid by the client if there is a favorable end result of the case.   Depending on the case, we may or may not require the client to pay the expenses of the investigation; those expenses are not part of attorney fees.

There are two expenses associated with investigating a medical malpractice case. One is the cost to obtain medical records and X-rays taken if necessary.  Hospitals and doctors have the right to charge you for copying your medical records for you. (In Kentucky, you can get a copy of your records for free.)  How much will that cost?  If you have been hospitalized for three or four weeks, getting copies of your medical records could run several hundred dollars.

The second expense is having a doctor review the records. Rates vary but it generally ranges from $300 to $500 an hour on the low end to up to $1,000 an hour on the high end, depending on the doctor and his or her specialty.  Attorneys may advance the expenses of the investigation depending on the facts of the case and its inherent strength.

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