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Do lawyers have the right to take attorney fees from both settlements; awarded by the jury and the settlement awarded by court?

Minneapolis, MN |

My question is regarding a personal injury case. My lawyers took attorney fees from the total amount awarded (jury and court awarded), what was leftover after attorney fees was then used to pay off all court fees and finally I am left with whatever little remained. I feel cheated since I thought what was awarded by the court was to cover court fees, yet a chunk is going to the attorneys. Is this how it works? I have little education in this field.

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Attorney answers 6

Posted

More info needed. If you won your trial you should not have too many costs assessed against you. If you mean that your attorney took his fee from the gross recovery and then deducted all of the costs and disbursement from the remained left to you, then that depends on the retainer agreement by which you hired your attorney. Most attorneys take a contingent fee from the net recovery. What you are describing (i think) is a fee taken from the gross recovery. This is not how most lawyers do it.

Posted

That is usually how it works. The fees come off the top. Then come expenses. Then come any liens etc. then the net goes to you. If you won in court, some but not all of the expenses are reimbursable by the court. These are usually called discretionary costs. If your attorneys tried the case they probably put a great deal of time and money into it. Jury trials are tough and as you probably saw, are very time consuming. Don't know the result but any result beats no result.

Posted

This is a tough question to answer with the information given. I don't know what "jury and court awarded" means. The court doesn't award fees if it's a jury trial, unless you're talking about the court entering judgment on the jury's award less offsets for things like no-fault benefits or other appropriate collateral source offsets.

But after offsets, every attorney I know will take their fee from the gross amount. I don't even really understand what the "net amount" would be. On what amount do you think the fee should be paid?

Posted

Fee arbitration

Posted

It depends on your retainer agreement. The typical retainer permits a fee derived as a percent of the total recovery, which would be the judgment (verdict plus costs awarded by the court). After fees, the agreement will require the client to pay accrued costs out of the remaining recovery. The balance is the client's net recovery. Check your retainer to see if that's how it reads. Jim Lavoie

Posted

It really depends on the contract you entered into with your attorney. If your attorney did not violate the attorney-client fee agreement, then assuming he has not done anything that would violate the ethical rules of Minnesota, then my answer is "yes" this is how it works.

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