Can A Medical Malpractice Plaintiff Recover Attorney’s Fees From The Health Care Provider?

I am a doctor.  I have been sued in a medical malpractice case.  My patient has asked for payment of her lawyer’s fees?  Am I responsible for her lawyer bills?

Under current law you are not liable for the fees of her lawyer absent extremely unusual circumstances, even if you lose the lawsuit.   Similarly, if she loses the lawsuit she is not liable for your lawyer fees.

The only risk you have of paying your adversary’s fees in a medical malpractice case is if you assert a frivolous defense or do not  participate in the discovery process in good faith.  The discovery process is  the phase of the litigation during which each side finds out about the other side’s claims and defenses. The various methods of gaining this information are often referred to as tools of discovery or simply “Discovery.” These methods include depositions, interrogatories, requests for production, medical evaluations, requests for admissions, and subpoenas.  Read more here.

The lawyer hired by your medical malpractice insurer can explain all of this to you.  In the unlikely event any fees are awarded against you they are almost certainly covered by your medical malpractice insurance policy unless you engage in intentional or fraudulent conduct.


John Day represents personal injury victims and families of wrongful death victims.  He is board-certified as a civil trial specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and, in fact, served as President of the organization. He is an elected member of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers.  His book, "Day on Torts:   Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law," is used by judges and lawyers across Tennessee to further their understanding of personal injury and wrongful death law in Tennessee.  In 2009, Best Lawyers named John "Best Personal Injury Lawyer" for Nashville; he was the first recipient of that award. Best Lawyers also  named John as "Best Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Nashville" for 2010.   John does not charge for an initial consultation and accepts personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingent  fee basis.  You can reach him by telephone at 615.742.4880 or by email by clicking here.

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