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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Default Negotiating a Retainer Agreement with an Attorney

    My question involves medical malpractice in the state of: Kentucky

    I have been consulting with an attorney regarding my father's wrongful death as a result of medical malpractice.

    My father died in early January so I have been told that the statute of limitations for commencing the case is 1 year after his death. The lawyer has only said that "we do not send bills, we are paid by taking a proportion of the settlement". The lawyer did not respond (which caused me some anxiety) to my recent email inquiry about how the fees will be assessed.

    I did a little research and discovered that in Kentucky (unlike many other states) there is no limit to the amount of money an attorney can charge in medical malpractice lawsuits. Knowing that the statute of limitations for initiating this case is coming up in January, I fear a scenario in which the statute of limitations draws near and we have not yet entered into a contract to specify upon attorney fees.

    I want the attorney to have incentive to seek a large settlement and I want the attorney to be appropriately awarded if there is a settlement - but I do not want the attorney to take 90% of the settlement.

    I am considering telling the lawyer that I want to enter into a contract within the next couple of weeks or I will pay him for the services rendered up until this point in time and I will hire another attorney. The conditions of the contract I had planned to propose are:

    "If a settlement (whether specified by the court or an out of court settlement) is awarded in the medical malpractice case(s), the sum total of the fees paid to the law firm shall not exceed 40% of the settlement. The advanced expenses will be paid before the fees paid to the law firm are calculated."

    Any input with regard to how I should handle this situation would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Negotiating a Retainer Agreement with an Attorney

    The percentage will be specified in the retainer agreement. You are free to interview attorneys in your area to see what the typical contingency fee is, and whether you can find any attorneys who will take the case for a lower than typical percentage or who are willing to negotiate the figure.

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