There are very few times in life where we are as vulnerable as when our children are born. If you or your child suffered an injury during a birth, you may be desperate for help. Birth injuries take both a physical and emotional toll. They also put financial stress on the family, in the form of fees for therapy or additional care. During this painful time, it may be helpful to talk to a birth injury lawyer.
When a birth injury is due to either your doctor or another healthcare provider’s negligence, you should consider filing a lawsuit. If the standard of care in your community isn’t met, then you may be entitled to compensation.
A birth injury lawyer can assist your family. Birth injury cases fall under medical malpractice law. You may be entitled to significant compensation from your hospital or care provider. This compensation may be a six- or seven-figure sum. Before you contact a birth injury lawyer in your area, it may be helpful to understand how much they charge.
Begin with a Free Consultation
Parents pay nothing up front to have a birth injury lawyer review their case. If the attorney thinks you have a viable claim, then the next step is standard. You will typically sign a contingency fee agreement. You will also sign a retainer for services at the same time.
Each lawyer has a different retainer fee; it may be in the low four-figure amount. However, in some cases, your birth injury lawyer may waive, or cancel, this fee. Be sure to ask about all your options.
A contingency fee agreement means your lawyer will receive a percentage of your settlement payment they secure for you. Often, this percentage begins around 30% of the total compensation, but again, it does vary. Be sure to ask to see a schedule showing the lawyer’s fee structure. If you don’t understand what you see, then ask questions. It is the attorney’s job to make sure you know what to expect in terms of all potential payments as well as any fees.
How Much Is the Birth Injury Lawyer Contingency Fee?
The answer to this question depends on where you live. Some states limit the amount a medical malpractice attorney can charge families like yours. For example, many states (including Connecticut) establish a sliding scale that places an upper limit based on your settlement or judgment amount.
It works like this:
- Connecticut allows 33 and 1/3% of the first $300,000 of your settlement.
- From there, it allows 25% of the next $300,000.
- Then, 20% of the next $300,000.
- Next, 15% of the next $300,000.
- And finally, 10% of any amounts exceeding $1,250,000.
Sixteen states have a statute or court rule that establishes a specific limit or sliding scale on contingency fees any birth injury lawyer may charge their clients. These states are:
- New Jersey
- New York
Six states require or authorize court approval of the reasonableness of attorney fees under various circumstances. These six states are:
- New Hampshire
A table that summarizes fee limits for all 50 states shows that fee limits are highest in Oklahoma and lowest in Indiana.
Choosing a Birth Injury Lawyer
Again, birth injuries can be complex cases that typically result in mid-to-high six-figure settlements. So, parents should ask about recent cases and payout amounts when they meet with a birth injury lawyer. While this information is generally confidential, the lawyer may be willing to share anonymized information with you.
During your first consultation with a birth injury lawyer, be sure to ask how many medical malpractice cases like your own they typically handle in a year. This lawyer and their team of professionals should be familiar with reviewing medical records and diagnostic tests. They should also understand the use of birthing tools and electronic fetal monitoring devices.
Ask what happens next if you choose to hire a particular attorney. Finally, ask them to share information about recent birth injury settlements in your state. Damages are designed to cover monetary losses and intangible losses, such as a decreased quality of life. This settlement should account for both past and future medical expenses, additional healthcare costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Ready to see if you may qualify? Complete your free online birth injury case evaluation now!
Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls, The Secret Ingredient, and Littler Women: A Modern Retelling. She is also an active co-author or ghostwriter of several nonfiction books on personal and business development. Laura currently lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and daughter and works with clients all over the world. Visit her online at lauraschaeferwriter.com and linkedin.com.