What is a health law attorney

What are the costs of a doctor's liability lawyer?

Many wonder whether they can even afford the help of a lawyer or a specialist lawyer specializing in medical law to enforce claims for damages against a doctor or a hospital.

A basic distinction must be made between two cost factors. On the one hand, there are legal fees that are incurred before the initiation of legal proceedings as part of the out-of-court correspondence and negotiation with the doctor and his insurer. On the other hand, those costs must be taken into account that can arise in a legal proceeding.

Extrajudicial costs for the client

In the out-of-court area, the client usually only has to pay the costs of their own lawyer plus expenses (for example for requesting treatment documents). It is rare for doctors or hospitals to be represented by a lawyer out of court. In this case, the claimant is not obliged to pay the costs of the opposing lawyer. This can only change in court proceedings.

For out-of-court representation by a lawyer or specialist lawyer for medical law, fees are charged according to the fee table of the Lawyers' Remuneration Act. The amount of the fees depends in particular on how high the client's claims for damages are for past and future damages or compensation for pain and suffering. The higher the claims for damages, the higher the legal fees.

It also depends on how much work the lawyer has to put into out-of-court representation and how difficult this work is. This always depends on the individual case. Usually are medical liability Mandates, however, are much more extensive and also more difficult than, for example, simple debt claims or simple traffic accident mandates.

Against this background, the fees for out-of-court representation usually reach a four-digit figure.

If the client has legal protection insurance, this generally covers the legal costs in medical liability mandates.

If there is no legal protection insurance, the client has to pay the legal fees himself. Since these costs - as I said - usually amount to a four-digit amount, we also offer our clients the option of a alternative fee agreement to conclude with us. With this alternative, the client only pays one Lump sum in the amount of € 500.00 to € 700.00 plus a flat-rate expenses (€ 20.00) and sales tax. In addition, we agree on a Success commission in the event that the extrajudicial negotiations with the opposing party lead to the achievement of compensation proceeds. These success commissions in the extrajudicial area are usually between 15% and 20% plus sales tax.

If an out-of-court settlement is carried out by the liability insurance of the doctor or hospital, the liability insurance mostly also contributes to the legal fees of the claimant. Usually, however, settlements are concluded without recognition of a legal obligation. As a result, it is not necessarily the case that the liability insurances also pay all of the claimant's legal fees. If payments are made, however, these will be offset against the attorney fees incurred in accordance with the Attorney Remuneration Act. If the client has opted for the model of a performance-related lawyer's fee with commission, payments from the opposing liability insurances will only be offset against the lump sum.

If the opposing liability insurance does not come to an adequate regulation or if the latter rejects liability, only a judicial action for damages remains in order to enforce claims.

Legal fees in the event of legal proceedings

In contrast to the out-of-court procedure, there is now one for the client in the judicial procedure significantly increased cost risk. According to the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, the person who conducts judicial proceedings must pay the costs in proportion to the extent to which he loses the proceedings. This also applies to medical liability proceedings. However, the costs of legal proceedings no longer only include the costs of your own lawyer. In addition, the costs of the opposing lawyer, all court costs and expert costs as well as witness expenses now also count. These cost items usually make up an amount in the doctor's liability process that exceeds € 10,000.00. In this respect, significantly higher five-digit amounts are not uncommon.

But also in judicial proceedings the following applies: If there is legal protection insurance, this bears the costs. The cost of the legal protection insurance extends to all costs incurred by the client in court proceedings. This means that the legal protection insurance's obligation to bear the costs also includes the opposing attorney's costs as well as court and expert costs.

If you do not have legal protection insurance, it can be very expensive in legal proceedings. It is therefore important to consider how clients who are not insured against legal protection can be put in a position to bring legal action against a doctor.

If the client has little financial means, a claim usually arises Granting of legal aid into consideration. This would at least free the client from having to bear the court and expert costs as well as the fees of their own lawyer. But what must also be clearly stated in the case of legal aid: Legal aid does not cover the costs of the opposing lawyer. To the extent that the client loses the proceedings, he is therefore obliged to pay the opposing legal fees.

If the granting of legal aid is out of the question due to a lack of economic need, there is, as already stated, a clear cost risk. In this situation, however, we can offer our clients, with regard to the legal fees incurred, to conclude an agreement in the sense of a success fee with a small lump sum. In this way, at least the fees of your own lawyer in the event of the loss of a case remain manageable.

We will of course be happy to advise you on the details.