How are attorney expenses calculated?

by William
(Brooklyn, NY)

I agreed to a $10,000 settlement in my auto accident case. I thought that all the fees would be part of the attorney's 1/3 of the settlement. I am now told that all expenses are deducted from the $10,000, after which the remaining amount is split 2/3, 1/3. I was never told this prior to my agreement on a settlement.

Is this correct? How much in expenses can I expect to have to pay? We never went to trial. Other than when I gave a deposition I never dealt with my attorney. Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "How are attorney expenses calculated?":

William (Brooklyn, NY):

It all comes down to the Contract - the Contingency Fee Agreement - you signed when you first retained the attorney. In that agreement should be clearly and unambiguously spelled out the exact terms of legal representation and the fee agreement. In the agreement should also be a clear description of any costs the attorney is entitled to deduct in addition to the attorney's fees.

If you still aren't clear, then ask the attorney to review with you the terms of the agreement. He should be more than willing to explain the terms to you. In the unlikely event you didn't sign a fee agreement you have a right to be paid according to the agreement you were under a reasonable impression you had.

When it comes to attorneys and contingency fees the bar association in New York State is very clear, the terms must be clear and unambiguous and should not be unreasonable or usurious in nature.

If you still aren't satisfied you can contact the state bar association for assistance.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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