Are There Limitations on Attorney Fees In Florida Medical Malpractice Cases?
At Medical Malpractice Help, we charge on a contingency basis within the state’s guidelines. We also offer free case evaluations, so you can learn more about your legal options before you decide to take action. If you think you may have been a victim of medical negligence, contact our medical malpractice lawyers in Florida at 855-633-2757 today.
How Much Can a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Charge in Florida?
According to state law, the claimant—or client—can recover:
- No less than 70 percent of their damages up to $250,000; and
- No less than 90 percent of their damages over $250,000.
In other words, medical malpractice attorneys’ contingent fees cannot exceed 30 percent for awards of $250,000 and under. For awards greater than $250,000, attorneys can charge 30 percent on the first $250,000, but no more than 10 percent on the money awarded beyond that amount.
According to the Florida Bar, all attorneys who charge contingent fees in medical malpractice cases must provide their client a written copy of the legal fee limits for the state. Each attorney must also verbally inform their clients of the constitutional limitations on fees.
Can the Attorney’s Cap on Contingent Fees Be Waived?
With the client’s approval, the cap on the attorney’s contingent fees may be waived. If a contingency fee agreement differs from the fee limitations established in the Florida Constitution, the attorney must notify their client of the alternative terms verbally and in writing.
The lawyer must also explain the legal fee caps to their client—and make sure the client understands that they are agreeing to pay more.
The attorney also has a duty to inform the client that they can consult with another lawyer before signing the waiver and may request a hearing in front of a judge for further explanation.
A Change in the State Fee Caps Requires a Signed Waiver
Before your lawyer can charge more than the state’s legal fee caps, you must sign a waiver. The waiver must state:
- The client is willingly forgoing an important Constitutional right by signing the waiver;
- The client understands and was advised that he or she has the right to speak with other attorneys before signing the waiver;
- The client understands that he or she may request a hearing in front of a judge to go over the terms of the waiver;
- The client is willingly selecting the lawyer despite higher fees than what the Florida Constitution deems appropriate; and
- The client would not be able to hire the attorney without the higher fee structure in place.
Are There Other Legal Caps on Attorney Fees in Florida?
When the client waives the constitutional cap on attorney fees, a different rule kicks in to regulate the attorney’s fee structure. In general, the maximum allowed fee is:
- Between one-third and 40 percent of any recovery up to $1 million; plus
- 20 to 30 percent of any portion of the recovery between $1 million and $2 million; plus
- 15 to 20 percent of any recovery over $2 million.
The reason for the percentage range at each tier is that not all medical malpractice cases go to trial. The maximum fees the attorney can claim depends on when the case is resolved. The amount you owe your lawyer depends on whether your case settled:
- Before trial;
- At trial but before a jury verdict;
- By jury verdict; or
- On appeal.
If you choose, you can waive these attorney fee limitations. You must do so in writing, under oath, and using a specific form required under Florida law.
How Can I Discuss Fees With a Medical Malpractice Lawyer for Free?
If you suffered injuries due to the medical negligence of a doctor or another healthcare professional, the Medical Malpractice Help team is here for you. We can protect your rights and help you fight to win fair compensation. We offer free case evaluations, where we can answer all your questions and discuss our fee structure. Call 855-633-2757 today for more information and to schedule an appointment.
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