Malpractice Attorney Fees

States may have different limits placed on the amount of attorney’s fees that can be charged and collected. The following listing and information regarding limits on attorney’s fees by state are for general information purposes only. This list is not legal advice and may not be current or accurate at the time you view this page. Many state laws are revised or changed from time to time. Do not rely on the information below with regard to limits on attorney’s fees. Seek competent legal advice with regard to limits on attorney’s fees that may apply in your state and/or to your claim. Different limits on attorney’s fees may apply (such as federal limits on attorney’s fees involving federal health care providers and federal claims).

 

State

Limits on Attorney’s Fees

Alabama

No limitations.

Alaska

Section 09.60.080. If an attorney contracts for or collects a contingency fee in connection with an action for personal injury, death, or property damage and the damages awarded by a court or jury include an award of punitive damages, the contingent fee due the attorney shall be calculated before that portion of punitive damages due the state under AS 09.17.020(j) has been deducted from the total award of damages.

Arizona

Section 12-568. The court shall, at the request of any party in any action under this chapter, determine the reasonableness of each party’s attorneys’ fees.

Arkansas

No limitations.

California

Business and Professions Section 6146. Sliding scale, not to exceed 40 percent of first $50,000, 33-1/3 percent of next $50,000, 25 percent of next $500,000, and 15 percent of damages exceeding $600,000.

Colorado

No limitations.

Connecticut

Section 52-251c. Sliding scale, not to exceed an amount equal to a percentage of 33-1/3 percent of first $300,000; 25 percent of next $300,000; 20 percent of next $300,000; 15 percent of next $300,000; and 10 percent of damages exceeding $1.2 million. A claimant may waive the percentage limitations of said subsection if the claim or civil action is so substantially complex, unique or different from other wrongful death, personal injury or property damage claims or civil actions as to warrant a deviation from such percentage limitations.

Delaware

18 Section 6865. Sliding scale, not to exceed 35 percent of first $100,000; 25 percent of next $100,000; and 10 percent of all damages exceeding $200,000. A claimant has the right to elect to pay for the attorney’s services on a mutually satisfactory per diem basis.

District of Columbia (D.C.)

No limitations.

Florida

Fla. Atty. Conduct Reg. Section 4-1.5. Attorneys’ fees in excess of the following amounts are presumed unreasonable: (1) In cases that settle before filing an answer or appointing an arbitrator: 33-1/3 percent of any recovery up to $1 million; plus 30 percent of any recovery between $1 million and $2 million; plus 20 percent of any portion exceeding $2 million. (2) In cases after filing an answer, demanding an arbitrator through the entry of judgment: 40 percent of any recovery up to $1 million; plus 30 percent of any recovery between $1 million and $2 million; plus 20 percent of any portion exceeding $2 million. (3) If all defendants admit liability and request a trial only on damages: 33-1/3 percent of any recovery up to $1 million; plus 20 percent of any recovery between $1 million and $2 million; plus 15 percent of any portion exceeding $2 million. An additional five percent of any recovery after institution of any appellate proceeding is filed or post-judgment relief or action is required for recovery on the judgment.

Georgia

No limitations.

Hawaii

Section 607-15.5. Attorneys’ fees for both the plaintiff and the defendant shall be limited to a reasonable amount as approved by the court.

Idaho

No limitations.

Illinois

735 Section 5/2-1114. Sliding scale, not to exceed 33-1/3 percent of first $150,000; 25 percent of next $850,000; 20 percent of any amount recovered over $1 million of the sum recovered.

Indiana

Section 34-18-18-1. When a plaintiff is represented by an attorney in the prosecution of the plaintiff’s claim, the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees from any award made from the patient’s compensation fund may not exceed 15 percent of any recovery from the fund.

Iowa

Section 147.138. The court shall determine the reasonableness of any contingent fee arrangement between the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s attorney.

Kansas

Section 7-121b. Compensation for reasonable attorney fees to be paid by each litigant in the action shall be approved by the judge after an evidentiary hearing and prior to final disposition of the case by the district court. Compensation for reasonable attorney fees for services performed in an appeal of a judgment in any such action to the court of appeals shall be approved after an evidentiary hearing by the chief judge or by the presiding judge of the panel hearing the case. Compensation for reasonable attorney fees for services performed in an appeal of a judgment in any such action to the supreme court shall be approved after an evidentiary hearing by the departmental justice for the department in which the appeal originated.

Kentucky

No limitations.

Louisiana

No limitations.

Maine

24 Section 2961. Sliding scale, not to exceed 33-1/3 percent of first $100,000; 25 percent of next $100,000; and 20 percent of damages exceeding $200,000. For purposes of determining any lump-sum contingent fee, any future damages recoverable by the plaintiff in periodic installments shall be reduced to lump-sum value. If the plaintiff prevails in the action for professional negligence, the plaintiff’s attorney may petition the court to review the reasonableness of the fees permitted above.

Maryland

Courts & Judicial Proceedings Section 3-2A-07. If a legal fee is in dispute, an attorney may not charge or collect compensation for services rendered in connection with an arbitration claim unless it is approved by the arbitration panel, or by the court in the event an action to nullify a panel determination has been filed therein.

Massachusetts

Ch. 231 Section 60I. No contingent fee agreement, shall be enforced, and no attorney shall recover a fee thereunder, as a result of services rendered in an action against a provider of health care for malpractice, negligence, error, omission, mistake, or the unauthorized rendering of professional services if, at the time of judgment, the court determines that the amount of the recovery paid or to be paid to the plaintiff, after deduction of the attorney’s reasonable expenses and disbursements for which the plaintiff is liable and the amount of the attorney’s fee, is less than the total amount of the plaintiff’s unpaid past and future medical expenses included in the recovery, unless the contingent attorney’s fee: (a) is 20 percent or less of the plaintiff’s recovery; (b) is reduced to 20 percent or less of the plaintiff’s recovery; or (c) is reduced to a level which permits the plaintiff to be paid his unpaid past and future medical expenses included in the recovery. Sliding scale, not to exceed 40 percent of first $150,000; 33-1/3 percent of next $150,000; 30 percent of next $200,000 and 25 percent of award over $500,000.

Michigan

Section 600.919 The measure of the compensation of members of the bar is left to the express or implied agreement of the parties subject to the regulation of the supreme court.

Minnesota

Section 548.251. If the fees for legal services provided to the plaintiff are based on a percentage of the amount of money awarded to the plaintiff, the percentage must be based on the amount of the award as adjusted under the collateral source rule.

Mississippi

No limitations.

Missouri

No limitations.

Montana

No limitations.

Nebraska

Section 44-2834. In all cases against a health care provider for malpractice or professional negligence, upon motion of either party the court shall review the attorney’s fees incurred by that party and allow such compensation as the court shall deem reasonable.

Nevada

Section 7.095. Sliding scale for attorney fees, not to exceed 40 percent of first $50,000; 33-1/3 percent of next $50,000; 25 percent of next $500,000; 15 percent of any amount over $600,000.

New Hampshire

Section 508:4-e. Contingent fee agreements between attorney and client shall be governed by Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.5 as it may be amended by the supreme court from time to time and by any other rules regarding fees which are adopted or amended by the court. All fees and costs for actions, resulting in settlement or judgment of $200,000 or more, shall be subject to approval by the court.

New Jersey

Court Rules Section 1:21-7. Sliding scale, not to exceed 33-1/3 percent of first $500,000; 30 percent of next $500,000; 25 percent of third $500,000; 20 percent of fourth $500,000; on all amounts recovered in excess of the above by application for reasonable fee in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (f) hereof; and where the amount recovered is for the benefit of a client who was a minor or mentally incapacitated when the contingent fee arrangement was made, the foregoing limits shall apply, except that the fee on any amount recovered by settlement without trial shall not exceed 25 percent.

New Mexico

No limitations.

New York

Jud. 30 Section 474-a. Sliding scale, not to exceed 30 percent of first $250,000; 25 percent of second $250,000; 20 percent of next $500,000; 15 percent of next $250,000; 10 percent over $1.25 million. In the event the attorney believes in good faith that the fee schedule, because of extraordinary circumstances, will not give adequate compensation, application for greater compensation may be made upon affidavit with written notice and an opportunity to be heard to the claimant or plaintiff and other persons holding liens or assignments on the recovery.

North Carolina

No limitations.

North Dakota

Section 28-26-01. The amount of fees of attorneys in civil actions must be left to the agreement, express or implied, of the parties.

Ohio

Section 2323.43 (F). If the amount of the attorney’s fees exceed the applicable amount of the limits on compensatory damages for noneconomic loss, the attorney shall apply to the court and the attorney’s fees shall be subject to the approval of the probate court of the county in which the civil action was commenced or in which the settlement was entered.

Oklahoma

5 Section 7. Fee may not exceed 50 percent of net judgment.

Oregon

Section 31.735. In no event may more than 20 percent of the amount awarded as punitive damages be paid to the attorney for the prevailing party.

Pennsylvania

Limits declared unconstitutional by state Supreme Court (see Heller v. Frankston, 475 A.2d 1291 (Pa. 1984)).

Rhode Island

No limitations.

South Carolina

No limitations.

South Dakota

No limitations.

Tennessee

Section 29.26.120. Contingent fees shall be awarded in an amount to be determined by the court on the basis of time and effort devoted to the litigation by the claimant’s attorney, complexity of the claim and other pertinent matters in connection therewith, not to exceed 33-1/3 percent of all damages awarded to the claimant.

Texas

No limitations.

Utah

Section 78B-3-411. An attorney may not collect a contingent fee for representing a client seeking damages in connection with or arising out of personal injury or wrongful death caused by the negligence of another which exceeds 33-1/3 percent of the amount recovered.

Vermont

No limitations.

Virginia

No limitations.

Washington

Section 7.70.070. Court to determine reasonableness of each party’s attorney fees.

West Virginia

No limitations.

Wisconsin

Section 655.013. Sliding scale, not to exceed (a) Except as provided in par. (b), 33-1/3 percent of the first $1 million recovered. (b) 25 percent of the first $1 million recovered if liability is stipulated within 180 days after the date of filing of the original complaint and not later than 60 days before the first day of trial. (c) 20 percent of any amount in excess of $1 million recovered.

Wyoming

Ct. Rules, R. 1 et seq. Contingent fees which do not exceed the following schedule will be presumed to be reasonable and not excessive where the total recovery does not exceed $1 million: (1) 33-1/3 percent of the recovery if the claim is settled prior to or within 60 days after suit is filed; (2) 40 percent of the recovery if the claim is settled more than 60 days after filing suit or if a judgment is entered upon a verdict. For those amounts of a recovery in excess of $1 million a contingent fee of 30 percent of such excess sum over $1 million shall be presumed reasonable and not excessive.