Car accident settlement questions, was under the impression that the chiropractor would be paid out of insurance instead of...
7 attorney answers
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the liens should be paid out of the total settlement. Your attorney will give you an itemized list of all of the things paid from the settlement (BILLS, attorney fees, etc.)
The general principle of law is that a person who owes a duty of care to another, but who negligently breaches that duty, is liable to the other for all damages occasioned by his negligence. Those damages include medical expenses incurred by the other, as well as pain and suffering. People carry automobile insurance so that if their negligence in the operation of their motor vehicle causes damages, the insurer will cover the damages in an amount up to the limits provided in the policy. In discussions concerning settlement, the "special damages" (i.e., medical expenses) may be differentiated from damages for pain and suffering, or lost wages, but they typically all combine into one lump sum that is offered by way of settlement.
Where the injured person's own insurance (such as health insurance) has covered the medical expenses, the insurer has a "subrogation lien" on any civil settlement or jury award arising out of the incident, so that they may recoup the amounts they have spent. Commonly the law entitles the plaintiff's lawyer to reduce the subrogation lien in recognition of the fact that since the lawyer's work enabled the insurer to recover, the insurer ought to pay for its fair share of the lawyer's work.
Not legal advice, just an explanation of general principles of law and legal practice. I don't practice law in California or hold California licensure. If you need legal advice, please consult a lawyer who does.
First, all of this should be explained to you by your attorney--that is what you are paying him/her for!
Generally speaking, an injury settlement will be for a gross number out of which your medical bills and attorneys fees must be paid.
But, really, if you have a lawyer representing you, make an appointment to discuss this issue. If your lawyer doesn't want to make the time to discuss it with you, find another lawyer.
Typically all of the injuries party's medical bills are paid out of the settlement money accepted from the at fault driver's insurance company. In the limited description of your facts, your hospital bills and chiropractor’s bills, in addition to litigation costs (i.e. photocopies, postage, fees for ordering records, etc.) plus your attorney's fees would be deducted from the total settlement amount.
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This depends upon whether you signed a lien for services or whether the Chiropractor billed it through your health insurance. The other thing you should check is whether you have "medpay" on your own auto policy that may be able to pay. No matter which option you go with, you will have to pay some of the medical out of the settlement by way of (1) lien payment; (2) subrogation reimbursement to your health care insurance co.; or (3) subrogation reimbursement to your auto medpay insurance provider. All of these payments should be negotiated down.
Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship. This is for informational purposes only. Attorney will take no action on your behalf unless and until a written retainer agreement is signed. There are strict time deadlines on filing claims and, as such, you are advised to consult with and retain an attorney immediately to file such claims timely or you will lose any right to recovery.
This really should be addressed by your attorney. Have a face to face meeting. Review your retainer agreement and ask for clarification. Everything in your post suggests that your attorney is correct and did a fine job. Good luck.
Personal injury cases only; I'm good at it; you be the Judge! All information provided is for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney client relationship has been formed or should be inferred. Please speak with a local and qualified attorney. I truly wish you and those close to you all the best. Jeff www.nyelderinjurylaw.com
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