Is it true that my medical costs will come out of my end of the personal injury settlement? 51 Answers as of June 26, 2013

I am getting a MV accident settlement and my lawyer is taking out his costs before splitting the settlement. He says that my medical costs that were not covered comes out of my end of settlement! Is that TRUE?

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Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
Of course it is. They are your bills. Your attorney is not obligated to pay any of your bills. Some attorneys are willing to cap how much they take in order to insure that you have enough to pay your bills and still have some money left. Usually though, the attorney can negotiate the medical liens on your behalf. And of course, usually insurance has paid all your bills for you anyway.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 8/1/2011
David Hoines Law
David Hoines Law | David Hoines
yes
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 7/31/2011
Garruto & Calabria, LLC
Garruto & Calabria, LLC | Andrew F. Garruto
Yes, your unpaid medical bills get paid from your portion of the settlement proceeds, as wells other potential deductions for (if applicable): valid health insurance liens, workers' compensation liens, child support judgments, Medicare liens, Medicaid liens, among others.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 7/29/2011
ROWE LAW FIRM
ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
You should have a written contract between yourself and your attorney that details exactly how any proceeds are to be disbursed. It is normal for costs to be advanced by the attorney, but then recouped from any settlement proceeds. This should have been explained to you carefully prior to your attorney taking your case.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 7/29/2011
Law Offices of John J. Ferry, Jr.
Law Offices of John J. Ferry, Jr. | John J. Ferry, Jr.
It depends on the specifics of the settlement and your agreement with your attorney, but yes, that is generally what happens.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 7/28/2011
    Law Offices of Earl K. Straight
    Law Offices of Earl K. Straight | Earl K. Straight
    Normally yes. Attorneys fees are usually based on the gross, or total, settlement amount. So if your case settled for $10,000, and attorneys fees were 35%, attorneys fees would be $3500. All medical expenses would have to be paid out of the remaining $6500. You'd have to review your contract with your attorney to see if his terms are different.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    Wilson & Hajek, LLC
    Wilson & Hajek, LLC | Eddie W. Wilson
    That is the usual agreement between client and lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    Yes this is true. Your medical facilities have more than likely sent what is called "liens" to the attorney and the insurance companies and your attorney is required by law to pay the medial facility first before you are compensated.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    Generally this is the case.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/26/2013
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Yes. When a lawyer accepts a case on contingency (percentage) his fee comes off the top. Unpaid medical bills are then paid from the recovery. What is left is basically for your pain and suffering or lost wages.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    Yes. Here's why: your claim is to compensate you for your loss. Uncovered expenses are part of that loss. You received the medical treatment and you owe the money to the providers, so don't act surprised that you have to pay. The real problem is that a settlement is a compromise, but if the total claim is being compromised but the medical bills are not, then you end up with less. Maybe you should talk to your lawyer about negotiating your medical bills.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    Yes. There really isn't any "your end" of the settlement. The entire settlement is yours. In the case, you are asking that you be compensated for your loss, including your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Your settlement is for all of this. Your lawyer charges a percentage of all of this. Often, the medical bills is the largest part of the case. If you had no case, you would have to pay these bills yourself. Even health insurance must be reimbursed in most cases. The attorney normally has to pay the doctors and health insurance directly because they have a signed assignment of benefits from you stating that they will be paid out of any lawsuit that you may have. his is a standard clause in most health insurance contracts and is among the standard forms you sign when you get medical treatment. If the lawyer does not pay them, but gives you the money expecting that you will pay them, they can sue the lawyer if they do not get paid.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    Law Offices of Steven R. Kuhn & Associates
    Law Offices of Steven R. Kuhn & Associates | Steven R. Kuhn
    Yes, most contingency attorney client agreements take the fees from the gross settlement. Read your attorney client agreement to confirm this.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    Yes. Typically, the attorney's contract says that his percentage fee comes out of the gross recovery. That means if he settles a case for $10,000, if he had a 40% contract, then his fee will be $4,000.00. If he had $300 in advanced client costs, then his fees and costs will be $4,300, leaving you $5,700. If you have $2,000 in medical bills, then those come out of the $5,700, leaving you with a net of $3,700. While different attorneys do it differently, the above is typically standard in the industry.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    LT Pepper Law
    LT Pepper Law | Luke T. Pepper
    That is true. As part of the settlement, the insurance company or the party paying the judgment will expect your out of pocket expenses be covered by proceeds of the settlement. It seems that everything is on the up and up.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    Kirshner & Groff
    Kirshner & Groff | Richard M. Kirshner
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    Allen Murphy Law
    Allen Murphy Law | W. Riley Allen
    It probably is true, but he should be trying to negotiate those costs for you to maximize your recovery.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    Harris Personal Injury Lawyer
    Harris Personal Injury Lawyer | Philip C. Alexander
    Yes, outstanding medical bills are typically paid out of the personal injury settlement.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC
    Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC | Travis Prestwich
    Typically yes. Most contingent fee agreements are such that the attorney fees and costs come out first, then repayment of medical expense liens, then payment to the client. These are expenses for which you are responsible and the attorney helps to collect reimbursement for you from the insurance company. However, the attorney typically will be able to get the outstanding medical expenses reduced. It really depends on the circumstances, whether the medical providers have held the bills rather than send the to collection, etc.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    Ordinarily that is true, but this is governed by your own fee agreement. There is no standard attorney fee contract, but from my understanding, including my own agreement that I use, medical expenses come out of the settlement proceeds after the attorney is paid his or her percentage and after costs are reimbursed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates | Lyle B. Masnikoff
    Yes. Your PIP insurance should be used for the first $10,000. Your attorney should be able to negotiate the medical bills down so you pay less.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    Yes it is true. Did you expect your lawyer to pay your bills from his portion? Whatever is not covered is your responsibility. Your lawyer should try to mitigate the unpaid bills, but whatever is left over is your responsibility.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Not sure what you mean. Settlement between client and attorney, my experience, is subtract from settlement dollars costs of litigation (filing, investigators, experts, etc.), next subtract medical liens, the remainder multiply by agreed upon contingency fee, balance is client's recovery. Read your agreement. It should say how you split the recovery.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    Yes. That is absolutely true. Any medical bills are your responsibility and come solely out of your share of the recovery, not the attorney's share. But, ask your lawyer to try to negotiate down the amount that you have to pay to these "lienholders", as they are often referred to. Many times they don't technically have "liens" at all. An argument can be made that the "lienholder" should reduce what they take by 1/3 since you were the one who went out, hired an attorney and pursued the claim and a cost of 1/3 to you. You can also sometimes get them to reduce by an equitable share of the expenses of prosecuting the case as well. Now, here is another kicker. Imagine the lawyer successfully negotiating down a medical bill owed, let's say for example from $63.00 to $42.00. He saves you $21.00. That is technically part of the recover he made for you and he can add that to the gross recovery. For example, let's say you settled for $9,000.00. The $21.00 would get added to the $9,000.00 so the "real" recovery is $9,021.00 (even though the defendant only pays $9,000.00). Now the lawyer, if he wants to, can take his 1/3 fee not on $9,000.00, but on $9,021.00, which will give him an additional $7.00 in attorney's fee that comes right out of your pocket! That's all legitimate. Now, some lawyers never do this as a matter of policy. Other lawyers treat it on a case by case basis. For example, in a relatively small recovery with a large "lien", they would not take the extra fee. But, in the case of a large recovery, with a small to moderate "lien", the lawyer might feel that taking a fee on the money he "saved" you is justified. The lawyer did, after all, "earn" that money for you by negotiating down the amount of the medical bill that will come out of your share.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    Matthew D Kaplan LLC
    Matthew D Kaplan LLC | Matthew D Kaplan
    My suggestion is for you read your retainer agreement carefully. It should spell this out clearly. If you are confused, schedule an appointment with your attorney and ask for a detailed explanation.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    It may be that the doctor or doctors who treated you demanded a lien against your recovery from your personal injury claim before they would cooperate with your lawyer in providing a report or reports as to your injuries. If a lien was a necessary part of handling the case the medical bills must be paid from your funds. If the settlement amount is not very large your lawyer may be able to get the doctor or doctors to compromise the bill or bills before your case is settled, accepting less than the full amount of your medical bill or bills. Gary Moore
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C.
    The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C. | Josh Lamborn
    Your agreement with you lawyer should be in writing. Typically contracts on personal injury agreements provide for payment on a contingency fee basis. That means that you lawyer will front the costs on the case and delay payment for his time until the case is resolved. Then he or she is reimbursed for his or her costs and is paid for his or her time according to the contract. This agreement is a contract between you and your lawyer. If you signed the contract and the language is clear then you are bound by the terms of the contract. The terms on the contract are negotiable so different lawyers provide their services with different rates of repayment. Most personal injury contracts provide for a 1/3 contingency fee if the case is settled prior to trial. Some increase up to 40% if there is a trial or arbitration because that requires more time and work. Most contracts provide for the attorney fee to be taken out of the total payment then subtract the costs and leave any medical payments outstanding for the client to pay. Medical bills are economic damages that should have been taken into account in the settlement. It is important for a lawyer to make sure you understand your net take on any settlement amount before you agree to the settlement terms.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    Potter Law Offices
    Potter Law Offices | Cal J. Potter, III, Esq.
    The client is responsible for legal and medical costs.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Yes, that is generally true, except auto cases in Michigan should have nothing to do with a 3rd party case, so I am a bit confused.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    The Law Firm of Shawn M. Murray
    The Law Firm of Shawn M. Murray | Shawn M. Murray
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    The Lucky Law Firm, PLC
    The Lucky Law Firm, PLC | Robert Morrison Lucky
    Well, you are asking about two different types of cost. The first set of costs is the amount your attorney paid out to help prove your case. The second set of costs is your medical expenses. You should refer back to the contract or agreement that you signed when hiring your attorney to make sure this is how it was explained to you. I am not familiar with your particular case so I am unable to adequately advise you as to correctness of his actions.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    Joel H. Schwartz, P.C.
    Joel H. Schwartz, P.C. | Steven A. Schwartz
    Medical bills not covered by other insurance can come out of your settlement proceeds. You will want to make sure that ALL other sources have been exhausted. In Massachusetts, there is PIP or personal injury protection benefits in every car insurance policy that should pay bills, as well as any health insurance you may have (private or public). If money is to be taken out of the settlement, then your attorney should have negotiated this medical bill money in addition to your money for pain and suffering.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    We recommend that you should check your retainer agreement and attempt to work out this matter with your own attorney. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Law Office of Joseph Lamy
    Law Office of Joseph Lamy | Joseph Lamy
    Yes, this is true. All costs associated with the case (including medical bills) are the responsibility of the client.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC | Russell D. Gray
    Whether that is true or not depends on the agreement with the attorney. Read the agreement, and see what it says. Typically, medical expenses are paid out of the settlement money.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    Wilson & Hajek,LLC, a personal injury law firm
    Wilson & Hajek,LLC, a personal injury law firm | Francis Hajek
    Yes. Your recovery is based in large part on your medical bills and any outstanding bills are your responsibility. Most likely, the providers have asserted liens against your case and so you are obligated to pay the bills. Of course, you can check your contract with the lawyer but I am pretty sure that he or she did not agree to pay your bills out of his fee. It is standard practice to pay the medical bills out of your share of the proceeds.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry | Ronald Arthur Lowry
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Holzer Edwards
    Holzer Edwards | Kurt Holzer
    When you hired your lawyer you entered into a contract with him. You need to review the contract but yes it can be true. There may be instances where that is not the case but the details of the situation will control.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A.
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A. | Christopher J. Roberts
    There are exceptions, but generally speaking I would say your lawyer is correct. Medical providers expect to be paid and if you don't pay them out of the settlement, they will likely sue you later. So you are better off paying those amounts now and saving a lot of collateral expense associated with being sued for collection of a debt. If you received the medical treatment and agreed to pay for it, you have a contract and your lawyer is probably trying to protect you by paying the bills out of the settlement. If you have any further questions, you should ask your lawyer to sit down with you and explain in more detail why you need to pay.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/20/2012
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    Normally that is true unless for some reason your written fee agreement with the lawyer says otherwise.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    Yes. But depending on what type of medical insurance you have, there might not be a valid lien. Under a recent NY law, liens for medical costs are not enforcible unless its statutory such as a true ERISA plan or worker's comp.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Law Offices of Tom Patton
    Law Offices of Tom Patton | Thomas C. Patton
    Settlement terms are always negotiable. That is the definition of a settlement - negotiated settlement. Unpaid medical bills are either included (typical) or paid separately (unusual), depending upon whatever the parties have agreed to. Negotiations usually refer to "inclusive" offers, which means the offer includes medical bills, which must then be paid out of the settlement. Most, or nearly all, attorneys do figure their fees off the top of an inclusive offer.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    D'Amore Law Group
    D'Amore Law Group | Emily Terriquez
    The answer to your question depends on what your fee agreement with your lawyer says. Different attorneys deal with this in different ways, so it is difficult to say without reviewing the fee agreement. If you don't have a copy, your lawyer should be able to provide one to you.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Anderson & Bliven, P.C.
    Anderson & Bliven, P.C. | Alex Evans
    You should talk to your attorney about the Fee-Agreement you signed and any concerns you might have.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    That is the typical method. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Magnuson Lowell P.S.
    Magnuson Lowell P.S. | Richard S. Lowell
    It depends on the terms of the retainer agreement; but normally, that is true.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Ackley Law Group, PLLC
    Ackley Law Group, PLLC | Andrew N. Ackley
    An insurance company that pays your medical bills is typically entitled to be reimbursed, to an extent, for what they paid. Though it is part of your settlement, the lawyer is recovering both for you and for the insurance company. Alternatively, if a medical provider files a lien and notifies the attorney of unpaid medical bills, the attorney is typically obligated to distribute from the settlement the portion owed to the medical provider.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Fears & Nachawati Law Firm
    Fears & Nachawati Law Firm | C. Bryan Fears
    Yes, typically your medical providers are paid out of the settlement proceeds. Otherwise, you will have an outstanding debt with them - unless you were covered by medical insurance.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/27/2011
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