What should I do to ensure that I get money from my personal injury case? 25 Answers as of November 08, 2011

My attorney got $10,000 on my case months ago, but won't pay me my part, because he is saying that a doctor bill isn't in yet. The doctor bill will be paid by my car insurance company so why can't I get my money now? I have a feeling that even when it is paid he still won't get me my money. What can I do? Can't I tell him that I will be responsible for the bill and go ahead and get the money now? Who can I contact about this? This bill will be for a couple of hundred at the most. I sent him emails and he tells me that he's working on it but nothing. Also, is there any way that I can find out what the settlement amount was for sure from the other insurance company? After all this I don't have much trust, who would I contact?

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Adler Law Group, LLC
Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
At the very least your attorney should give you the money over the amount of the bill and escrow the at amount only. If he refuses to do that you can file a grievance with the bar association and contact another lawyer to push him.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 11/8/2011
Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
Wow you have some suspicious things going on. You should be able to contact the doctor and get the bill on a phone call. Taking months does not sound right. Most insurance companies now send a copy of the settlement check and release directly to the client to avoid this from happening. You can call the other side’s insurance company and if you have the claim number, you can get to the adjuster and ask what the settlement was. If the lawyers continues not to pay you, contact the State Bar.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/8/2011
Chalat Hatten Koupal & Banker PC
Chalat Hatten Koupal & Banker PC | Linda Chalat
At a minimum your attorney should pay you the settlement amount due to you less the expected amount of the outstanding medical bill which should be held in a trust account by your attorney. You may wish to pursue the matter with the doctor's office, call and ask if the bill has been paid and if not, how much is outstanding. If you have further problems getting your settlement money, contact the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel of the Colorado Supreme Court (303.893.8121). You will be able to explain your situation in greater detail, with complete confidentiality, and have your questions directly answered.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 11/3/2011
Joel H. Schwartz, P.C.
Joel H. Schwartz, P.C. | Steven A. Schwartz
Your attorney is trying to do the responsible thing by holding the money until that medical bill comes in. It should not take too long to obtain a doctor's bill. In fact, I suggest you call the doctor directly, let the office know that you have the money to pay him/her but need a copy of the bill faxed over immediately. The turnaround should be very quick. If the doctor has a valid lien on your settlement, your lawyer is obligated to hold the money until payment is made. However, if there is no lien, you, as the client, certainly have a right to demand the money from the attorney and it would be your obligation to then pay the doctor. As for the settlement amount, make a simple request to your lawyer for a copy of the actual settlement check. If he refuses, then that is worrisome. Your lawyer should be providing this to you as a matter of course. If he does not, you can seek help with the Board of Bar Overseers, an agency that watches over attorney conduct.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 11/2/2011
R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C. | Robert Kelly
You need to speak with your attorney about your concerns. Check your retainer agreement you signed with him to see what the terms of your contract with him are. Perhaps you should retain another attorney to supervise the first attorney.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 11/2/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    Ask you lawyer to send you a copy of the settlement check. Start there.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    J Wayne Turley BC
    J Wayne Turley BC | Wayne Turley
    You should make an appointment and go in and talk to your attorney to understand what is happening. Today, if a medical provider has a lien for their bill, an attorney is obligated to hold the funds to satisfy the lien and either pay it or work out a compromise. However, the attorney should not have to hold more than the full amount of the bill or lien. The remainder should be able to be paid out to you while the bill or lien is being resolved. Talk to the attorney and try to come to an agreement about paying the available funds to you. Ask the attorney if he has taken his attorney fee and costs already. If he has, he should be able to pay the balance of funds to you after holding back enough for the bill or lien. In an extreme case, you could contact the medical provider yourself and get something in writing stating what the amount is that they are requesting and take that to the attorney and ask that he pay it, but the attorney may be trying to get the medical provider to take less. If the attorney refuses to pay the balance to you and you are not satisfied with his explanation, you can contact the State Bar of Arizona and make a complaint about the attorney's actions and request their assistance in obtaining your funds. You have a right to be sure what the actual settlement amount is. Ask the attorney for a copy of the release or the transmittal letter that came with the check, or a copy of the settlement check itself. Usually he can obtain a copy of the check from his bank for you even if he did not keep a copy.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC | Russell D. Gray
    The attorney is probably holding the money that was received from the insurance company. Usually, unless the amount is uncertain, the attorney should pay you the undisputed amount and only hold onto the amount that is in dispute - that is, the highest amount the medical bill could be. Ask your attorney for an accounting of the funds received so far.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    The Law Firm of Reed & Mansfield
    The Law Firm of Reed & Mansfield | Jonathan C. Reed
    Nevada law requires that the insurance company disclose the settlement amount to you. Your attorney is liable in both in a dollar sense and in terms of his professional license to see that valid medical creditors get paid out of your settlement; he cannot rely on your word to pay the creditor. However, your attorney has a duty to give to you that part of your settlement not necessary to be held back for medical bills. Possibly, the amount of the medical bills claimed is not known at this time. The Nevada state Bar will listen to any complaint of misconduct by an attorney, but from what you have written it is impossible to say what is going on with any certainty.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Craig Kelley & Faultless
    Craig Kelley & Faultless | David W. Craig
    You would have signed a Release to get the case settled. In the Rele4ase it would have disclosed the settlement amount. Ask for a copy of the Release. In addition, you can ask for a copy of the settlement check. You should also insist on a settlement breakdown which shows all distributions form the settlement and copies of the checks that were written. I believe that most Personal Injury attorneys provide this information routinely but I'm not positive.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    File a grievance against the attorney with the Michigan State Bar.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    You know how much the settlement is because you signed a release stating the amount. The only way that a doctor's bill could hold up your remittance is if the doctor has a medical lien against the recovery. You can call the doctor's office and your insurance company and confirm whether the insurance company is paying the bill, and what amount if any will be your responsibility and tell them to get the bill to your lawyer so that you and they can be paid. There is a law that says that the other driver's insurance company or your lawyer has to check to make sure that Medicare/Medicaid does not have any claim and that can really delay things, maybe that is what is going on. Forget the phone. Call your lawyer, make an appointment, when you are there, go through your file and get copies of the release and anything that looks like it has to do with receipt of the check from the insurance company, correspondence regarding outstanding medical bills and medicare/medicaid. If he gives you a hard time about it, tell him you will file a complaint with the grievance committee.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Dwyer, Black & Lyle, LLP
    Dwyer, Black & Lyle, LLP | Kevin Habberfield
    Go to his office and demand to see your entire file. All the info you want should be in there. Also, you should be getting a quarterly statement showing the expenses on the case. The release you sign will have the dollar amount of the settlement on it so that will tell you the dollar amount. Go see your attorney for a face to face to explain of this to you, it's their job to do so. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Law Offices of Kenneth Wincorn P.C.
    Law Offices of Kenneth Wincorn P.C. | Kenneth Wincorn
    Contact the State Bar of Texas immediately. You should have been consulted to approve the settlement so you should know the settlement amount.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    Your lawyer is obligated to get the doctor paid if the doctor had you sign a 'lien' so he has to wait until he works out the bill with the doctor before he pays you the portion of the settlement you will get. However, if you feel he is unduly delaying things, you can report it to the attorney regulation department of the Colorado Supreme Court and they may get involved (303-866-6400).
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Richard E. Lewis, P.S.
    Richard E. Lewis, P.S. | Richard Eugene Lewis
    The insurance company for the other driver won't speak with you because you are represented. You should give your lawyer a deadline to provide a full accounting or you will contact the bar association or another personal injury attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    You should have signed an agreement as for the settlement amount, refer to the agreement. An agreement had to be reached before the checks were issued. Once the checks are issued, the attorney has a fiduciary duty to pay all lien holders (i.e. doctor/hospital bills) first and then he will release the remaining amount to you.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
    You should send your attorney a certified letter stating all of your concerns and requesting specific responses. If you are not satisfied, you may request legal assistance from another lawyer.Later, youwill probably have tosign a release from the insurance company with the total amount of the settlement money stated.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    First, get the dr bill paid anyway you can. Second, the lawyer may have a lien filed by the doctor and that is why he holds funds; the lawyer can tell the business manager of the doctor to get him a bill in ten days or he will disburse the funds without protecting the doctor (this will usually get some attention) Finally, if you don't trust the lawyer, tell him so. If he does not cooperate tell the grievance committee of the local bar or the same committee of the state bar in Raleigh.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    You must have signed a general release. That document would list the amount of the settlement. No insurance company would pay more than the amount in the general release. It is normal for an attorney to hold money until all liens are taken care of. Maybe you can ask your attorney to release the bulk of the money while holding more than enough to cover the bill.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC | Stephen R. Chesley
    If you have a medical lien on your case, the attorney is obligated to see that same is satisfied before he can or should release monies. IT is commons in an automobile accident that at some time no fault had denied your benefits and that after that you still were being treated on a lien basis. The doctor is entitled to get paid for his services. Usually, the insurance company will send a letter to you that the settlement has been sent out. Otherwise, when the check is forwarded to your attorney you are entitled to see a copy of the check that was sent.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
    An attorney must keep his client informed of what is happening in the case. If the doctor filed a lien with your atty, he is obligated to negotiate or pay the bill. If the total bill is several hundred, he should pay it and get you your money. Was the 10K a final settlement payment? If so, I don't know why your atty would need to hold the funds that long. Call his office and tell someone to tell him that if you don't have an explanation in writing in 5 days, or the settlement proceeds, you will find another attorney or complain to the State Bar in Helena.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 11/1/2011
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