was in a car accident and my lawyer got me a 100,000 bodily injury settelement, which is sitting in his trust account, he says he is waiting for my health care provider to waive the claim for reimbursement of medical bills, but why cant he disburse the 100,000 to me now? is he just letting it sit in his account to collect interest? im not too happy about the situation, but dont want to annoy my attorney,
It sounds like there is a medical reimbursement claim against the settlement money that needs to be resolved before the money can be disbursed. Whether this claim actually constitutes a "lien" or not will depend on the law in Wisconsin. If you need some money right away, ask your lawyer if a partial disbursement can be made pending resolution of the reimbursement claim. He/she should also let you know the status and expected time line for full resolution.
Personal Injury Lawyer
This question has been asked already. Since your lawyer is trying to save you money you need to give him/her the benefit of the doubt until they are able to resolve the repayment issue. These negotiations take time. You need to schedule a meeting with your attorney and ask then these questions, not us.
DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.
Car / Auto Accident Lawyer
It is the norm. He must make sure hospital is paid before you are paid. Most trust accounts do not pay interest to attorney. Interest is paid to state bar in many states.
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Personal Injury Lawyer
He's trying to put as much of that $100k in your pocket as he can after negotiating with the claimholder. This takes time.
Personal Injury Lawyer
Laywer is ethically to withhold necessary sum to resolve any outstanding lien(s). Presumably the entire settlement is being held because what is in dispute or unknown is a sum greater than 100k. Sometimes need to settle before these issues are resolved, but better practice is to settle after these issues are resolved. Again, sometimes don't have a choice.
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M Y colleagues are correct. Just because the attorney has the money in his trust account, it doesn't mean that he can provide any or all of it to you. The medical providers and possibly others may be liens on the settlement today and your attorney has to clear the liens before he can disburse your portion of the proceeds to you.
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The interest on a trust account doesn't go to the lawyer, it goes to the Bar. Be patient.
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I learned very early as a PI lawyer that nothing aggravates some clients more than a delay between the time a settlement check comes in and the time when the client gets paid. As long as I recognize the insurance company as a big one in good health I typically ask my bank to waive the hold requirement and allow immediate disbursement of the check as a matter of good client relations.
But in your case it appears that your health insurance company is the problem.
As to collecting interest it is basically illegal for your lawyer to pocket interest on your money. In the "old days" lawyer trust accounts did not pay interest so the lawyer wouldn't have to figure out that John Doe has 59 cents of interest due him and Mary Jones is owed $1.29. In more modern times state bars demand that lawyer trust accounts pay interest to them to pay for legal services for the poor. So the lawyer is not making money off your interest.
In cases in which a lawyer expects a lot of money to sit in a trust account for a long time, the lawyer can set up a "segregated account" for that particular client which can earn interest paid to that client. But with today's super low interest rates, the state bar is probably only going to get a buck or two or three off your money while it sits in the trust account.
There are many reasons, almost all legitimate, occasionally not, why a lawyer delays disbursing money from his or her trust account. But cheating the client out of interest is never the reason. And having to resolve an insurance company lien is a very legitimate reason.
General Practice Lawyer
Obviously your lawyer is trying his best to help you put as much money in your pocket as possible. Give him a chance and stop second guessing him. If WI is like Texas, the lawyer does not get the interest on client trust account balances...it goes to equal access to justice so people can get free legal services. Geez
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Most likely your attorney is waiting to confirm the subrogation amount your health insurance carrier is claiming for reimbursement of medical bills it paid for your treatment caused from the wreck. Your attorney would be responsible for the amount owed to the health insurance carrier if he disbursed the $100,000 now. Also, the trust account most likely is not collecting interest.
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