If I decide to refuse any offer from the insurance company, do I still owe my attorney any fees? 16 Answers as of January 28, 2014

There is an offer on the table and I don't like it.

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Law Offices of Carl L. Brown | Carl L. Brown
You should have a copy of the fee agreement with your attorney. That agreement should define your legal obligations to your attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/28/2014
Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
If you want more, and if you have a valid and rational reason for it, then you need either for your lawyer to take the matter to trial or you need another lawyer who will. If you want more and have no rational reason for it, then you need to sit down with your lawyer to discuss it. You could be right, and you could be wrong. A settlement is better than a trial because 1) it is NOW, 2) it is certain, 3) you eliminate a lot of trail costs which have to be repaid to the lawyer, and 4) you avoid the panic of a trial and the frustration of an appeal.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 1/28/2014
Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
A percentage of nothing is nothing. You don't owe the fee until the case is settled. Let your lawyer do his job.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/24/2014
Wayne J. Wimer, Inc. P.S.
Wayne J. Wimer, Inc. P.S. | Wayne J. Wimer
If you signed a fee agreement and your attorney has gotten you an offer, and you simply want to walk away from that offer and your attorney and then hope to negotiate with the insurance company on your own, you will get sued by the attorney for trying "to pull a fast one" on him or her. Go back to your attorney; advise him or her to reject the offer and try the case.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 1/24/2014
Peters Law, PLLC
Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
Once it gets to the amount you like, you will owe him. Also, if you refuse the settlement and your attorney files a lawsuit, you will owe more. If you don't file the lawsuit, you will get nothing.
Answer Applies to: Idaho
Replied: 1/24/2014
    Pete Leehey Law Firm, P.C.
    Pete Leehey Law Firm, P.C. | Pete Leehey
    You should talk to your lawyer about this. If the offer isn't a final offer, the right move is to make a counteroffer.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 1/24/2014
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
    Read your fee contract and see what it says. Ask your lawyer. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 1/27/2014
    WEISSMAN LAW FIRM | I.Donald Weissman
    Not necessarily. If the agreement signed with the attorney is a contingency agreement, no fees are earned by the attorney until the case settles or a judgment entered. Whether to accept a settlement is the client's decision, not the attorney's decision. The attorney's fees are not earned when the client declines a settlement offer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/24/2014
    Graves Law Firm
    Graves Law Firm | Steve Graves
    If you don't accept any offer the insurance company makes, your choices are to go to trial or give up and get nothing. It's really not a matter of whether you and your lawyer like the offer, but whether you're likely to do better at trial. If your chances of getting more at trial are good, you should turn down the offer and go to trial; if not you're better off taking the offer even if you don't like it. Your lawyer is in the business of knowing when to hold em and when to fold em. Don't be too reluctant to take his or her advice. You certainly don't want to turn down an offer, then go to trial and get less or even lose the case.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/24/2014
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC | Stephen R. Chesley
    The case is not end if you refuse the offer. You only owe your attorney his legal fee at the conclusion of the case if you signed a contingency fee retainer. You should discuss this offer with the attorney and go over why he believes the offer is a fair one.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/24/2014
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Depends on what your contract is with the lawyer. Some contingent fee contracts say that if the client refuses to follow the lawyers advice or accept a settlement arranged by the lawyer that the lawyers time is to be compensated for. Don't try to cheat your lawyer. His time is valuable if you don't like him tell him and find another lawyer. You would be well advised to follow your lawyers advice. He knows what judges and juries do with small injury cases, and your case may not have the value you seem to think most people have no idea what their cases are worth and no insurance co will deal fairly with them.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 1/24/2014
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    There are no attorney fees to be paid on a "contingency matter" until there is an acceptable offer.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 1/24/2014
    Ty Wilson Law
    Ty Wilson Law | Ty Wilson
    Typically there are negotiations so the first offer is not necessarily where the claim will settle. You do not have to resolve the matter, however if you have an attorney and you have filed a lawsuit, the fee contract may provide for the attorney to file a lien with the court. If that occurs you will have to pay the attorney if you resolve the claim. If you do not resolve the claim the details of your representation will be in the fee agreement you signed prior to representation.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/24/2014
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    No, but first of all, if your attorney is recommending it then you owe it to yourself to consider it carefully. If you like, you can get a copy of your entire file and pay another lawyer to review it to give you a second opinion. That will cost something, but it may be worthwhile, I've even done it myself. Secondly, if you switch attorneys, the first lawyer will be entitled to the fee that he would have gotten if you had accepted the offer, which could discourage any other lawyer from taking it on. Third, if your lawyer has been advancing any expenses, he would be justified in demanding immediate reimbursement and insist that you bear any further expenses going forward. Lastly, it is never a matter of "liking" the offer; if it were one-tenth the amount, the other side still would not like to have to extend that offer, and if it were ten times the amount currently offered, you still might not like it. So it's not what you like that counts, it's what you can get.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/24/2014
    Gregory M Janks, PC
    Gregory M Janks, PC | Gregory M Janks
    Typically you will have a written agreement with your attorney (required in a Michigan injury case) that will answer this question. Usually the agreement will say something like you owe the attorney for the value of their services if you change lawyers. Certainly you can refuse to settle your case and ask that it continue until there is a settlement offer you accept and/or go to Trial if there is no offer that is acceptable. Usually the attorney agreement will indicate the attorney my withdraw from your representation if you are being unreasonable or make representation unreasonably difficult. If your attorney withdraws, the agreement usually will say he/she will be able to claim the value of their services against any recovery you make. Again, the bottom line is to read the agreement you have with your attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/24/2014
    Candiano Law Office
    Candiano Law Office | Charles J. Candiano
    Either you settle the case or you go to trial or arbitration. If you recover, you must pay your attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/24/2014
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