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How much do injury lawyers get in Massachusetts?

Hi. I was in a car accident along with a friend of mine in Massachusetts when another person was driving. We both had some bad injuries and are going to sue if we can both the driver of our car and the driver of the other car. My friend made some calls and talked to two different lawyers who said different things about how much the fees would be and how much they would get paid. Also, I wonder who pays for other things that have to be done for the lawsuit like filing fees and other such things. Thanks.

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As you may know, attorneys who represent injured parties in Massachusetts and elsewhere work on what is known as a contingency basis.  That means the attorney will earn a specified percentage of any damage award, if there is an award. If there is no award of damages, then the attorney does not collect a fee. The percentage is negotiable. However, in medical malpractice cases, Massachusetts law limits attorney fees to 40% of the first $150,000 recovered, 33% of the next $150,000, 30% of the next $200,000, and 25% of any recovery above $500,000. Once agreed upon, the percentage will be included in representation agreement you sign with the attorney.  I believe, at this point, you should focus on finding an attorney that you have faith in to pursue your claim in a competent and diligent manner.  Once you have done that, talk to him or her about the fees.

As to your second question, the issue of who will pay for the fees and other expenses related to your claim is also negotiable. Some attorneys will agree to pay for the fees and expenses, others will not.  It is also possible that an attorney will pay for the fees and expenses but expect the client to reimburse him out of any damage award.  Like the issue of the attorney's fees, the issue of who will pay for other fees and expenses should be covered in the representation agreement you sign with your attorney.  Good luck, and I hope you and your friend are feeling better.  

Although I agree with the editor that attorneys who represent injured parties in Massachusetts are compensated on a contingency basis (i.e. the attorney does not get paid unless the client gets paid), and that some attorneys, although not may, will agree to pay for the court costs and expenses should the case not settle before trial or if an expert is needed, I DISAGREE with the percentages. It is my understanding that contingent fees need only be reasonable. 33 1/3 percent is standard regardless of the amount recovered before settlement. 40-44 1/3 percent is also standard IF the case goes to trial as there is more work that the attorney must do to prepare for trial. The limits the editor talks about refers to the medical malpractice limits set by statute pursuant to General Laws c. 231, Section 60I.

I use DONALD A. GAGNON & another vs. DONALD SHOBLOM & another, 409 Mass. 63 (1991) as my authority. If I am incorrect, please let me know.

 Attorney D'Agostino is correct.  The limits mentioned in my post apply to medical malpractice.  

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