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I have $7000 in medical bills. Should the attorney take the medpay checks?

Milpitas, CA |

I was in a car accident i was a passenger of the at fault driver. I was injured and my lower back has a disk herniated and l4-l7 is messed up my attorney said he is charging me 25% of the total bill (gross). I have 5000 kaiser 2000 chiropractor . My question is i received a med pay check at my house for $2000 for the med pay on the driver of the car is was in. My attorney said give him the check i did and he told me that he would lower the bills by 2000 or so so.(1500 from kaiser and 500 from chiropractor) less i wouldn't have to pay back so much. My question is should he keep the med pay check and take 25% out of that also or is that mine to keep and can i just pay the bills back when i get the bodily injury for the remaining 5000 and pain and suffering? too late to get check back?

Is this a good deal? should i look for a new attorney if i do how much will i owe him if all he did was get the bills from kaiser and the chiropractor he didn't even send it in yet because i am still going under treatment. The chiropractor sent her bill in that's why they got that. My back feels terrible and i really don't want to be left with something minimal after bills. Is he entitled to the 25% out of the med pay? Is it wrong of me go demand for that back? the driver probably has the minimal in Insurance but he had 2000 med pay. I'm in CA

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Check your attorney client retainer. This contract defines your attorney's rights and your obligations. In general a PI attorney is entitled to his agreed upon percentage of 'all funds collected' on your behalf.

    By answering your question we did not establish an attorney-client relationship. I have not examined all the facts or documents. I have not given you a legal advice nor intended to give you one on which you may rekly. A legal advice on which you can rely can only be given when all the facts are known and documents reviewed. My respoonse to your question was of a general educational nature. In order to obtain sopund legal advice you need tyo see an attorney who specializes or focuses in the area you are interested in.


  2. From what you have said it is not clear that the attorney is taking a fee on the med pay. Most of us do not take a fee on med pay.

    However, most state bars are now basically requiring that personal injury lawyers see that settlement or med pay money is used to pay off the doctor bills. In the "old days" the lawyer could agree with the client that it was the client's money and the client could pay or not pay the doctors as the client wished. No more.


  3. I don't know about the rules in your state or what the fee contract provides, but I would NEVER claim a contingent fee on payment of uncontested first party insurance such as medpay coverage. If this were in Georgia you could call the Consumer Affairs office at the State Bar. Fee arbitration may also be a possibility if he insists on claiming a fee on an uncontested first party insurance payment. See http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Attorneys/LawyerRegulation/ComplaintAlternatives.aspx


  4. You havent provided enough info. I would need to know what if any auto ins you have on your own, or in your household.

    If the accident was the drivers fault, you can sue him. His liability insurance limits are reduced by any med pay the carrier has paid. In that respect it may not be wrong for you atty to take a fee.

    If you truly have a herniated disk due to this crash, your case may have significant value. You are not obligated to settle for the ins limits, but then the issue is the assets of the driver.

    You dont make anatomical sense when you say you have l4-l7 levels in your back "messed up." There is no l7.

    Im not sure you should be seeing a chiro, at this point. If you have herniations, you must be careful.

    Your atty should be willing and able to sit down with you and explain everything. 25% is a bit lower than most attys charge. I dont know why your atty is charging less. He/she should still be willing to explain and do whatever is necessary to protect your interests and maximize your net recovery.

    Good luck.