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Can an attorney get more money on a settlement than the client itself?

Atlanta, GA |

REcently my husband had a car accident after two years case was closed for $24,000. Attorney got his part first which it was almost $10,000 ,second he paid medical bills at the end my husband only got $2000.00. Which it didn't even cover his lost of salary. He had to get surgery and he didn't.(back disk) Can someone please explain to me this. Thanks

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Attorney answers 5


This is an sad and upsetting situation. Unfortunately, without knowing all of the particulars no attorney can address your specific and legitimate frustration. Generally, and with rare exceptions, an injured party does indeed net a greater recovery with an than without one. Liens are an issue in almost every case today; and typically to the detriment of the injured party. Everyone wants to put their hand in the kitty without any downside risk. Among those you may blame is former president bush (43). Yes, it is a personal thing for me. Liens are generally abhorrent and repugnant. Call your lawyer, schedule a meeting, and ask for an explanation. You may not be satisfied, but at least it will be clear.


Although it is very uncommon, I have seen situations where an attorney will recover more in fee thanthe injured client will net at the conclusion of the case.

Without further detail it is impossible to answer why this may have happened in your husband's case however it almost certainly has something to do with the fact that no insurance covered his medical bills.

As stated by Atty. Adams, I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your lawyer to go over the expenses and liens paid on your husband's case. At least then you will have an idea as to how this result came into being.

Good luck

The aforementioned opinion does not constitute legal advice and is for general informational purposes only. See an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction for competent legal advice. No attorney-client relationship has been formed through the within legal question and answer session.


It is an unusual case, although it can happen. You should talk to your attorney about the settlement. This often happens when you don't have insurance to pay for your medicals. Your attorney should negotiate your bills down so that you get more money. If you don't like the settlement, take your case to trial. Just understand you may get less.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Alabama. Responses are based solely on Alabama law unless stated otherwise.


It's rare but it does happen. Bear in mind that the medical bills paid from the settlement were bills you would have paid otherwise, so a different way of looking at it is that your part of the settlement was $12,000.

Before agreeing to the settlement, review the numbers with your lawyer. Some lawyers, although they don't have to, may voluntarily reduce their fee in these cases. I have done that before. Bear in mind that your attorney presumably did many hours of work to get a settlement and since the more you get the more he gets, hopefully he did his best.


Yes this can happen and does all the time. As an example in Florida if there is $10,000 in BI coverage available from the at fault party, and $5000 in outstanding medical bills, the outcome is that the lawyer gets 1/3 or $3333.33 the doctors get their $5000 and the client ends up with $1666.67. A fair and decent thing to do is for the personal injury lawyer to reduce his fee at the end of a case such as this so that the lawyer does not make more than the client takes home. Because you sign a contract with the lawyer at the start of the representation that grants the lawyer 1/3 of your settlement, you are obligated to this contract and lawyers that really dont care too much about their clients hold them to this and take their 1/3 regardless. So the short answer is yes, the lawyer can legally make more than the client at the end of the case.

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