After your personal injury attorney has negotiated a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance, you don’t get a check right away. These fees and expenses are taken out of the final settlement amount before you receive a check:
- Medical record and police report expenses
- Health or auto insurance liens
- Medicare or Medicaid liens
- Court filing fees
- Your attorney’s contingency fee
You will also receive a disbursement or an itemized breakdown of exactly how much you were rewarded, and how much was paid in fees, expenses, and liens.
Records and Reports
Police reports and medical records are essential if you want to get the settlement you deserve. If you were injured in a car accident, the police report will help show that you were not at fault.
In a fault state, your percentage of fault determines the percentage of settlement money that you will receive. And if you are over 50 percent at fault, you might not be able to recover any money. An accurate police report could be the difference between recovering a lot of money, or recovering none at all.
Your medical records will prove the extent of your injuries, and that you have been following your doctor’s prescribed treatment. Insurance companies may try to downplay your injuries so they can justify a smaller settlement, but you should get enough money to cover all of your medical treatment, including physical therapy.
If you’re paying your medical bills out of pocket, you probably don’t have the extra money for medical records. Your attorney will pull medical records and police reports for you, and will reimburse the cost out of the final settlement amount.
Your insurance company might pay for medical bills and auto repair now, but they will expect to be reimbursed later with money from the at-fault driver’s insurance once you reach a settlement. To make sure they’ll get their money back, they put a lien on your settlement money.
A lien is a legal claim on somebody’s assets. Once a settlement is reached, money will be taken out to cover the liens placed by healthcare providers, Medicare, Medicaid, health and auto insurance companies. If you owe child support, the government may also place a lien on your settlement.
Court filing fees
Most personal injury claims can be settled outside of court. But if the insurance company is dragging its feet, you might want to take them to court.
A personal injury attorney can help you decide whether a lawsuit is the right choice for your case. Your personal injury attorney will pay for court filing fees out of pocket, and then reimburse the cost from the final settlement amount.
At Hensley Legal Group, we work on a contingency basis. This means we only collect payment if we get you money for your case. Personal injury lawyers who work on contingency will collect a certain percentage of your settlement amount to cover their fees.
An attorney’s fee is typically 33.3 percent of your settlement, but it may be more if you end up going to trial. Most of the time your attorney will negotiate for a settlement that is large enough to cover your damages as well as their fee.
Make Sure You Get a Fair Settlement
A fair settlement should not only cover fees and expenses, but should also cover most if not all of your past and future medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
While it may be tempting to accept the initial offer and get it over with, you can’t file another claim if you need more more money for medical bills later. That is where a personal injury attorney can help. They will handle negotiations with the insurance company so you can get the settlement you deserve, while you can focus on getting your health back.
At Hensley Legal Group, our personal injury lawyers can help you through the settlement process. Give us a call or contact us online for a free conversation about your claim.