Personal Injury Attorney Nick Alcock always wants to make sure that his clients fully understand exactly how contingency fees work. He wants to make sure that they understand contingency fees before starting their case, and not after. “So many of my clients have told me about negative experiences they had with prior accident cases. They complain about the fact that they felt that they didn’t fully understand how much of the settlement they would actually get to keep.”
Unfortunately, medical expenses, costs and attorneys fees are taken out of a personal injury settlement.
A possible scenario for an accident case goes something like this: Say, for example that a personal injury attorney charges 33% and the settlement the insurance company is willing to pay is $10,000. Many clients have the mistaken belief that the attorney would pocket $3,300 and they will get to keep $6,700. Not so much.
The problem lies with the fact that health care providers may have placed a lien on the settlement amount. So if the injured client has $6,700 of medical bills with at $10,000 settlement, after attorneys fees, that client may get nothing at all. Doctors and lawyers get all the money.
In the above instance, there are a couple of things that can be done to avoid an unfair settlement breakdown. First, medical bills are not set in stone. It is possible to negotiate with doctors and chiropractors to reduce medical liens. Second, if the medical bills are $6,700 one of two things are occurring. The settlement amount is far too low or the doctors are charging ridiculously inflated fees for medical services provided. In either case, an experienced personal injury lawyer needs to do more to make sure that the client is getting what is fair. Third, a client should always know how much the legal costs will be. A lawyer can have hundreds or thousands of dollars in costs. As a result, the 33% can become 50%.
The solution to these problems–get all the information up front. Protect your rights and don’t sign anything until you fully understand it. If you don’t know EXACTLY how much you will get in your pocket with the settlement check is divided up, don’t sign up with a personal injury lawyer. Find one who will get you that information in a plain and understandable format.
At the Phoenix Personal Injury Law Firm of Alcock and Associates, we believe that it is unfair to any client for a lawyer to get more than the injured person. As a result, we work very hard to obtain the largest settlements possible. We charge discounted fees. We also never, ever, take more than a client. Call an auto accident attorney or Phoenix injury lawyer now. 602-989-5000.