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  • Expert opinion

    I've been asked to provide an expert opinion on a patient case.  This is my first one and I only agreed to do it as I had some time to do it tomorrow afternoon.

    Fee schedule I had proposed:

    $350/hr with 2 hours minimum.. basically go over the patient's records and provide my verbal opinion.

    If I had to attend court, $1000 retainer and $450/hr minimum x 2 hours.

    I signed a contract agreement stating the specifics, expectations, and fee schedule.

    I intentionally started low.. hopefully to pick up some more cases long term.

    Would anyone do it differently?   Anyone know what the typical fee schedule would be for physician.. oncology specifically?

    Any other advice for this kind of work?

  • #2
    You value your time far too cheaply.

    The first thing I would want would be a flat $500 to review the records and determine whether you're willing to take the case in the first place.  You don't want to harm another professional by being an expert on a baseless or frivolous case.  Sure, you owe the patient and the attorney an opinion on whether they have a valid case for your $500 30-60 minute chart review, but you should be under no obligation to go to a deposition or courtroom for a bogus case.

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    • #3
      Way too cheap. You'll be inundated with stuff.

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      • #4
        Too cheap. Raise price.

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        • #5
          I would start at $500 an hour if you want to build a business, $1000 if you don't really care one way or the other and $1500 an hour if you don't want to build a business.
          Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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          • #6
            I don't want to do it. I'm at $2k/hour. I usually still get asked about twice per year.

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            • #7




              I don’t want to do it. I’m at $2k/hour. I usually still get asked about twice per year.
              Click to expand...


              Wow. Nice.

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              • #8
                Make sure to include a non-refundable retainer.  I ask for a check before I will block my schedule for anything, including record reviews.  Once I do that, the money will not be refunded.  Many of these cases end up not going to court, you have taken time off and then you do not get paid for that.  If that happens the day before the case, you can not fill your office schedule.  If it happens 3 months before the case, I still keep the money.  It makes the attorney take your time seriously.

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                • #9
                  I can't get the quote function to work on iPhone. But to pistolpete,

                  It's definitely a mixed blessing. I'm thinking of raising price to $3000 so I can get out of it. I'm practicing saying that out loud without laughing because I though 2000 was so ridiculous that I wouldn't have to do it anymore. Problem for me is once I say it and they agree I feel obligated.

                  Maybe I should learn to say no. That might be easier.
                  They say everyone has their price. I guess I know what mine is. I'm definitely mixed because generally I know it limits my future but I either only want to be on defense or I tell them in the strongest possible terms they should settle quickly if asked to review a case. Usually by the time a review gets to me it's already been reviewed a few times and they really just need someone to tell them to open the wallets. When I'm on defense I hate having a high price cause I know who is paying for it ultimately. I wish there was a way to do it as a professional courtesy without getting abused by the system or discredited by the opposition.

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                  • #10
                    Those details you listed look pretty good.  Your fee is reasonable but on the low side.

                    I don't adjust my fee based on what I'm doing.  I charge the same hourly rate for everything.For me that is simpler and easier to justify but I know successful doctors who have different approaches to fee setting.

                    I mentioned my rate in a comment here: https://www.whitecoatinvestor.com/a-side-hustle-to-consider-medicolegal-or-insurance-consulting/

                    If you don't want to do that kind of work you can just have your office staff tell them "NO" for you.  I don't think raising price is the best way to turn down business personally.  Because:

                    1. It doesn't always follow the law of supply and demand.  Sometimes increasing your rate increases the business demand.  This is because the buyers attribute quality to a higher price.  In other words they think if this guy charges that much he must be really good.

                    2. $3K an hour can make you look like a greedy jerk who will do anything for the right amount of cash.  I'm sure that isn't true for any of us here, but you could easily be portrayed that way by opposing counsel.

                     

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                    • #11
                      Good way to start. It's not too difficult to raise prices later. Don't fault yourself for getting paid for a new gig - nice work on the new gig.

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                      • #12
                        Appreciate everyone's opinions provided!   I just completed my first case last week.   I feel that for the work being done on reviewing a chart which didn't take long and providing my verbal opinion... it wasn't hard work at all and I did it during my traveling time while I was away doing pharma talks.   2 birds with 1 stone.  Plus.. it was good learning about the other side of an ill-fated case and what the lawyer was focusing on the records to build a case up.   3 hours plus a phone call x 1 hour... $1400.   I will increase the rate to $500/hr for the next time around.

                        My next question is how to get my name out there and build up the expert testimony practice?   I do look forward to attending one of the SEAK conference later this year in November and really enjoyed the recent post by WealthyDoc.   But in the interim, any other thoughts or suggestions to ramp up this practice?

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                        • #13




                          Appreciate everyone’s opinions provided!   I just completed my first case last week.   I feel that for the work being done on reviewing a chart which didn’t take long and providing my verbal opinion… it wasn’t hard work at all and I did it during my traveling time while I was away doing pharma talks.   2 birds with 1 stone.  Plus.. it was good learning about the other side of an ill-fated case and what the lawyer was focusing on the records to build a case up.   3 hours plus a phone call x 1 hour… $1400.   I will increase the rate to $500/hr for the next time around.

                          My next question is how to get my name out there and build up the expert testimony practice?   I do look forward to attending one of the SEAK conference later this year in November and really enjoyed the recent post by WealthyDoc.   But in the interim, any other thoughts or suggestions to ramp up this practice?
                          Click to expand...


                          I'm glad you enjoyed the post.  Word of mouth is a great way to build the business.  Let the attorneys you deal with know that you enjoy this work.  They will recommend you to others.  Bring your CV and business cards to every meeting or depo and give them to all the attorneys.  Many of them are searching for quality doctors who do this work.  You can also get your name listed on directories online and the mailed directories (e.g. SEAK and ABIME).  Again my preference is to get all the training you can first and do excellent work and then market your services later.

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                          • #14




                            Appreciate everyone’s opinions provided!   I just completed my first case last week.   I feel that for the work being done on reviewing a chart which didn’t take long and providing my verbal opinion… it wasn’t hard work at all and I did it during my traveling time while I was away doing pharma talks.   2 birds with 1 stone.  Plus.. it was good learning about the other side of an ill-fated case and what the lawyer was focusing on the records to build a case up.   3 hours plus a phone call x 1 hour… $1400.   I will increase the rate to $500/hr for the next time around.

                            My next question is how to get my name out there and build up the expert testimony practice?   I do look forward to attending one of the SEAK conference later this year in November and really enjoyed the recent post by WealthyDoc.   But in the interim, any other thoughts or suggestions to ramp up this practice?
                            Click to expand...


                            The learning curve on this things is steep isn't it?

                            Once you review a case and provide an opinion I don't think you ever practice or chart quite the same way again.

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                            • #15
                              I had an e-mail last Monday from a lawyer who said that I had been referred to her by another partner in the firm and would I be able to provide an opinion on a case for her.  I thought about it for awhile and then e-mailed back and said that I would do it.  This is the firm that represents our national malpractice organization and I have been doing cases for them for a number of years.  I find them quite interesting.  They also pay well and are as close to no-risk as it gets.  The hours can really add up when one does a thorough review. The income is a nice supplement in retirement.

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