Medical Malpractice Lawyers In New York Need To Stop Asking For Higher Fees


Generally, personal injury lawsuits and lawyers receive one-third (1/3) of the total verdict or settlement.  This one-third fee is pretty common knowledge and most people know about it.  But did you know that medical malpractice lawyers have a different statute and fee schedule?

That is right!  Most times medical malpractice lawyers will get 20% or less.  There is a sliding scale of what can be received based on the amount recovered.  The largest chunk a medical malpractice lawyer can get is only 30%, and that is not for the entire portion.  For example, here is the New York medical malpractice fee schedule:

30% of the first $250,000 recovered;

25% of the next $250,000 recovered (between $250,000 and $500,000);

20% of the next $500,000 recovered (between $500,000 and $1m);

15% of the next $250,000 (between $1m and $1.25m); and

10% for the sums of money exceeding $1.25m.

At no point will a medical malpractice lawyer ever get one-third or 33% of any portion of a medical malpractice verdict or settlement.  The more that is recovered, the more that goes into the pocket of the victim.  That is specifically the purpose of the Legislature who designed that statute in such manner, which is to allow victims to get the most from their medical insurance premiums instead of it going to the lawyer.  This is because medical malpractice can be very devastating and catastrophic.

However, there is a way for a medical malpractice lawyer to obtain more money by petitioning the court to allow increased fees where there is extraordinary circumstances in the litigation.  Such as a difficult cause with a trial, appeals, lots of motions, and high expenses, where liability is very difficult and the recovery unlikely except for the most intense of lawyering.  This is a good thing to reward lawyers who work hard, right?


This should be done VERY RARELY, yet some plaintiff’s lawyers will ALWAYS make this motion.  That is a smack in the face to their own client and the Legislature.  ALL LAWYERS MUST USE FULL EFFORT IN A CLIENT’S MATTER!  That is required by the ethical rules!  Lawyers that not work “harder” on a case because they like it better or it will pay more and work “less” or take effort away from a lesser case to a harder case.  Lawyers should work hard on ALL CASES, otherwise don’t accept them!

Asking for more feels just takes money away from a victim.  Medical malpractice lawyers know that medical malpractice is very difficult and that the cases will pay less but take more work.  Don’t like that, don’t take medical malpractice cases!