Costs of a Virginia Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Sadly, the legal profession has perpetuated a myth that victims of malpractice do not owe anything on their cases, but for attorneys fees at the end of the case.

This is a sad myth because it is no where near reality. Perhaps it’s like buying a car. You think the sticker price is the amount you will pay, but there are fees, costs and taxes you didn’t fully understand.

1. Liens

If you have health insurance, and your insurance provider (Medicare, Medicaid, anthem etc.) paid for any care related to your injury case, you will likely owe a substantial portion of any lawsuit recovery to the insurance company as a lien.

Why? The law says, since they paid for your care, they have a legal right to recover should you file suit and claim the care was a related damage.

Myth: That the other side must pay this. No, you the plaintiff or patient must pay this and it is not in addition to your settlement. Is is from the settlement.

2. Lawsuit costs

Doctors will not often appear as experts for free. They will charge for their time and expect to be paid if you win or lose your case. So who should pay for their time and money? The Virginia state bar says that clients should. It is like any other client expense, and should not be the exclusive responsibility of the law-firm taking the case.

3. Attorneys fees

The jury will never hear that you owe your attorney 40% of any recovery, plus thousands to the doctor experts, and thousands to the insurance companies. They may believe that should they award you $100,000 – you will get $100,000. Not $60,000 – costs ($10,000) minus liens ($30,000) leaving you $20,000.

 

So often, we will tell folks yes they have a likely case, but we don’t recommend they file it because the costs of litigation (liens, costs, attorneys fees) outweigh the potential recovery to the family. Would you want to file suit for the insurance company and lawyers and doctors to benefit?

Probably not. And only when you understand the costs of a lawsuit, can you fully evaluate whether or not you or your family should pursue one.

 

7

Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at lellerman@frithlawfirm.com.