When it is determined that a medical malpractice / professional negligence lawsuit or claim needs to be settled, or when one of the few times a jury sides with the patient, money is paid. Don’t be dismayed by what actually happens to the money. Between contingent fee lawyer contracts paying the plaintiff’s lawyers up to 50% (these actually happen in Nebraska), to exorbitant expert witness fees to huge health are liens, med mal payments are not the “lotteries” many patients/plaintiffs think they may get when they are dissatisfied with what are oftentimes acceptable and known medical outcome that they surmise is negligence.
Case in point, The Indianapolis Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday, July 30th that an Indianapolis law firm that was sued by its former med mal client was allowed to keep fees of $337,001 in settling a case. That amount was double of the statutory limit in Indiana when the state’s guarantee fund was involved.
The client sued the firm claiming breach of contract and illegal fee collections after his then-wife gave birth to a child in May 2001 who died less than a year later while receiving medical care. The couple retained the law firm to sue their son’s doctor. The case was settled in 2008. The Court of Appeals reasoned that although there was a limit to the amount the attorneys could take of the state fund money, the contract between the client and the attorneys authorized a larger award such that more than attorney cap could be paid to their counsel.