My lawyer pre negotiated chiroproctor bills, but when the settlement was offered he raised the bills, is this legal?

pertaining to an auto accident

Los Angeles, CA -

Attorney Answers (9)

Malosack Berjis

Malosack Berjis

Personal Injury Lawyer - Los Angeles, CA
Answered

Have you discussed you concern with your attorney? If not, that would be great place to start, since no one in this forum is more familiar with your case than your attorney.

Daniel Nelson Deasy

Daniel Nelson Deasy

Personal Injury Lawyer - Centennial, CO
Answered

Honestly, you need to talk to your attorney about this situation!!

In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship.... more
Kevin Coluccio

Kevin Coluccio

Car / Auto Accident Lawyer - Seattle, WA
Answered

You need to sit down with your attorney and review these issues.

Jeffrey Ira Schwimmer

Jeffrey Ira Schwimmer

Personal Injury Lawyer - New York, NY
Answered

If your attorney formalized the agreement into a writing, then you may have a basis to have the chiropractor held to the first negotiated amount. Also, did the Chiro agree to a certain amount based upon a representation that your case was being settled for A, but then you got A+ ? There are many questions raised, and you should discuss this with your attorney.

Richard Andrew Harting

Richard Andrew Harting

Car / Auto Accident Lawyer - Long Beach, CA
Answered

I don't know what you mean by pre-negotiated, but is sounds like an amount was negotiated before you started your treatment. If so this is highly unethical, and very possibly illegal. But lets assume a different understanding, i.e. your file was in settlement negotiations and based on the then status of negotiations, an agreement was made to for amount of your chiro bill. Then the case settled for a higher amount and now the chiro wants more of his bill covered. That is reasonable.

Michael Shemtoub

Michael Shemtoub

Car / Auto Accident Lawyer - Los Angeles, CA
Answered

Please consult a local attorney with your documentation

View my website & give me a call for a FREE consultation if you are a California resident 877-427-2752 or you can... more
Christian K. Lassen II

Christian K. Lassen II

Car / Auto Accident Lawyer - Philadelphia, PA
Answered

Don't sign a settlement agreement until he knocks the bills down, as your lawyer won't get paid if you don't sign.

Jonathan Craig Reed

Jonathan Craig Reed

Car / Auto Accident Lawyer - Las Vegas, NV
Answered

Unfortunately, an absurd aspect of the American medical system is that health care bills, whether chiropractic or hospital or surgeon bills are often hugely inflated, only to get knocked down by insurance companies, attorneys' etc. it is virtually impossible to say with certainty what any particular treatment is really "worth."

I practice personal injury law in Nevada and I expect to compromise most medical liens at settlement time. The amount of compromise usually depends in part on the settlement amount.

For example, my firm of Reed & Mansfield offers a 25% discount contingency fee in auto accident cases in which the client is not cited but the at fault driver is cited. If it is mainly a chiropractic treatment case I try to get the chiropractors and associated liens (there may be a radiology bill and a medical doctor bill as well) collectively reduced to 1/3 of the settlement so that my client can get 5/12 of the settlement after my 25% (3/12) and the lien holders' 1/3 (4/12).

Let's say I get an offer of $10,500. I write up an Excel spreadsheet showing 1/3 or $3,500 going to the lien holders, $2,625 to me and the rest to the client. I send this out to the client and the lien holders for approval. And I say this based on the lien holders getting 1/3 of the total settlement. Let's say the client and the lien holders agree.

But this was only an offer. Maybe I can go back to the insurance company and settle the case for $12,750. Now, 1/3 of the settlement is $4,250. Assuming the unreduced lien amounts are greater than this I will pay out $4,250 to the lien holders.

Why would I do this if the lien holders would have taken $3,500? Because I honestly told them they were collectively getting 1/3 of the settlement and I was being transparent with them to earn their trust and cooperation in getting the case resolved.

As a general rule, lien holders are willing to deal but don't want to be played for suckers. Most lien holders will agree to reductions, even large reductions THAT MAKE SENSE IN THE CONTEXT OF THE OVERALL SETTLEMENT AND WHAT THE CLIENT AND ATTORNEY IS GETTING.

In this example, why couldn't I get the final $12,750 offer before asking about lien reductions? Because negotiations are a two way street and I need to make concessions off my opening offer if I want to get the insurance company to come up from their opening offer.

Manuel Alzamora Juarez

Manuel Alzamora Juarez

Car / Auto Accident Lawyer - Berkeley, CA
Answered

It happens all the time. First you offer a small amount to settle your medical bills under the assumption that the recovery will be X $'s, and then the doctor finds out there is more, so you have to pay more. However, your attorney should explain it to you. Best of luck.

This answer is provided by California Accident Attorney Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., 510-206-4492. Abogado de... more

Questions? An attorney can help.

Ask a Question
Free & anonymous.
Find a Lawyer
Free. No commitment.