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How do contingency fees work in a medical malpractice case?

On Behalf of | Aug 4, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

In Idaho, navigating legal complexities can become overwhelming with legal jargon, complex procedures and various attorney payment structures. Contingency fee payments are common in personal injury cases such as medical malpractice. The following overview can help you understand the concept and how it works.


A contingency fee is a specific payment structure between an attorney and a client in medical malpractice and other personal injury types of cases. While no two fee agreements are identical, the attorney only receives payment if they win the case in this arrangement. The attorney represents the patient or plaintiff, and their payment is contingent upon winning the case and securing a verdict or settlement in favor of their client. The attorney usually receives a pre-agreed percentage of the total amount covered. Regardless of whether the attorney wins, they may still recover other fees and expenses aside from the contingency fee.

Common contingency percentages

A typical contingency payment percentage for medical malpractice cases is one-third of the amount awarded to the plaintiff. Certain jurisdictions may limit the percentage, however. This fee arrangement often works well for medical malpractice cases because it helps clients who might not otherwise have access to the means to afford an attorney while providing attorneys with access to potentially substantial fees for winning cases with significant settlements.

Limits of applicability

Contingency fee arrangements work well in personal injury cases, but the fee structure is inappropriate for many other legal matters. Divorce proceedings, for example, prioritize fair and equitable outcomes for both sides. Incentivizing lawyers to win big payouts would work against this goal. Additionally, general legal advice and cases in which an individual is sued do not typically use this payment structure.

Understanding the agreement terms

Although the concept of contingency fees is simple, it is essential to understand all the details of a contingency agreement. For example, take note of when the attorney’s contingency payment is due. Other costs relating to the trial and attorney expenses can be deducted before or after the attorney collects their contingency fee, which can influence the final recovery amount.

Contingency fee agreements work well for medical malpractice lawsuits. Demystifying this payment structure can provide knowledge to help you confidently navigate your legal journey.