Visitor Question

Injury settlement doesn’t pay medical bills?

Submitted By: Sinatra (Winston-Salem, NC, USA)

The subject was hit by a vehicle while riding a bicycle in Winston-Salem, NC. He obtained an attorney. Almost a year from the date of the accident, he was contacted by the attorney and told that his settlement is $9,250.

The subject’s medical bills are $8,000 and the attorney says he gets $2,312 of the total settlement amount. There is not enough left for the medical bills, and the subject obviously gets nothing for pain and suffering since after paying the medical bills he will still owe for medical.

How is this possible? And if the subject has an attorney for a personal injury case, what part does subject play in the settlement, other than signing the check?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Sinatra,

An attorney may not settle a case without getting the client’s approval. It sounds as though, in this case, the attorney settled the case without discussing the matter with the client which is not appropriate.

Furthermore, if the medical bills are $8,000, it seems odd that the case would only settle for such a small amount. Also, the attorney should not receive his 33 1/3 fee and still leave the client in the lurch for medical expenses.

While medical bills are not a guarantee of settlement, the numbers still do not match up.

The best result would be to avoid signing the settlement release because a case CANNOT settle unless and until this document is signed.

Secondly, it may be worth it to have someone else look at this claim because the conduct of the current attorney is questionable.

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

Best of luck,

Published: November 30, 2010

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