I consulted with an attorney on a personal injury matter. His contract (I have not signed yet) says he will receive 33 1/3 percent of any amount recovered in the event of a settlement. It does not specify if this is before or after medical costs are taken out. So for example. Say I were to receive $40.000 and $20.000 goes towards medical payments. Does he get 33 1/3 of $40,000 or 33 1/3 of $20,000? Is pain and suffering + lost wages calculated separately? Thanks
I can tell you how it works in my office and for most illinois injury lawyers.
Fees are on whatever lump sum obtained. After fees are deducted, costs advanced are repaid.
Then, all liens and medical bill ate negotiated and paid. The balance will be yours tax free.
Stephen L. Hoffman
Law Office of Stephen L. Hoffman LLC
You indicated that you consulted with an attorney. In that you have not yet signed the agreement, I believe that what you should do is to simply ask that attorney to describe how the percentage works. Have him give you a specific answer to your question. If you believe that what he tells you is something that you can agree to, agree to it. If you do not understand what he tells you, keep asking questions. Usually pain and suffering and lost wages are all wrapped up into one amount. Good luck.
Fees are generally on the net recovery, after reimbursement of disbursements. Liens are not disbursements. Ev. Fees are subject to negotiation. However, you do get what you pat for in this business just like any other business. Talk to the lawyer. Perhaps interview a few before deciding. Good luck.
The standard personal injury contingency fee in Illinois is a one third contingency fee which requires that the client pay all costs incurred by the firm. An easy example would be a case where you settle the matter for $60,000.00 and the law firm actually incurred costs of $3000.00. One third of the settlement ($20,000.00) and the costs ($3000.00) would be the amount that you owe. In this example, you would receive $37,000.00 unless there are liens on the file. If there are liens on the file in the amount of $20,000, in this example, the entire $20,000.00 must be deducted from your settlement unless the lien holders agreed to reduce their liens or unless your attorney files an action in court to seek reduction of their liens. It must be remembered that if there is a lien on the file, there can be no distribution until that lien is resolved.
If the $20,000 to which you allude is not a lien but, rather is a subrogation interest, representing the amount that your group health insurance paid toward your medical bills, your attorney can automatically reduce the amount of that subrogation interest by the amount of his the. Again, in this case the $20,000 could be automatically reduced by one third so it could be reduced by $6666.66.
Unfortunately, most states actually require that the client remain responsible for any costs advanced during the course of the litigation. This is true in Illinois and Illinois attorneys must charge their clients for advanced costs if any recovery is made.
A contingent fee contract will almost always specify that the fee is calculated from the gross recovery. In your example, if the overall settlement was $40,000.00, then the attorney's fee would be 1/3 of the $40,000.00 recovered, regardless of other deductions. However, you should keep in mind that there is a "lien act" in Illinois that will limit the percentage of your recovery that can be deducted from a settlement for medical bills. A good attorney will negotiate with the lien holders as well as the adverse party in order to protect the client's bottom line.
Steven A. Sigmond
Law Office of Steven A. Sigmond
345 N. Canal #1208
Chicago, IL 60606
A well drafted contract should specify the exact calculation of fees. There is no absolute rule, but generally, in Illinois, a lawyer will take 33 1/3 of the gross recovery. This means that if the total recovery is $9,000 the attorney will receive $3,000 in fees. The client will then pay from the remaining $6,000.00 case costs, medical liens, and possibly subrogation claims. A good attorney will attempt to negotiate liens down if possible. His chance of success depends on the case and the lien-holder.
The best course to take is to contact your attorney and have the agreement clarified in writing.
You really need to sit face to face and discuss this issue. To complicated for quick written answer. Feel free to give me a call--my contact info is below:
Mark D. Brynteson
Attorney at Law
2969 Rolling Meadow Court
Belvidere, Illinois 61008
web site: www.bryntesonlaw.com
This is a very good question. The standard retainer form differs in different states and sometimes among attorneys in the same state if they are not closely regulated. Some states have restrictions on the fees as well. You should have the attorney clarify exactly what his retainer states and have him clarify it in writing if necessary.
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