Where does the money go following an auto accident settlement?

 

If you or someone you know has ever been involved in an auto accident, you are probably familiar with what happens after you settle with the insurance company. If you have hired an attorney and they are able to secure a settlement on your behalf, the money will be distributed and used to pay your outstanding medical bills/liens, the attorney’s fees and then the remainder to you. 

 

How will I know when my case settles?

 

An attorney is required to let you know when an offer comes in on your case. Once an offer comes in, your attorney will call you and discuss whether it is a strong offer or whether he or she thinks you should move forward with further negotiation for a higher amount. If and when you agree on a settlement amount, the attorney will call the insurance adjuster and negotiate the top number. Once the top number is reached, the attorney will settle the case and the check should be sent directly to the attorney’s office. Once the check is in hand, the attorney can begin paying bills and dispersing the money.

 

What happens when my attorney gets the money?

 

Once the check arrives, your attorney will put that check into the firm trust account. It will set there as your attorney negotiates bills and tries to get all of them paid. It is important that you be honest with your attorney about all of the medical facilities where you have sought treatment so that the attorney can get those bills paid. If something shows up that the attorney was not aware of, that can be a major problem and may result in you being responsible for that bill at a later date. As long as your attorney has all the information he needs, the bills will all get paid. All medical bills will be satisfied and your medical treatment will be paid for in full. The remaining money is then used to satisfy what you owe your attorney for his time, which is usually a percentage of the total settlement. Anything that is left over after your bills and attorney are paid goes to you. Your attorney will call you in to the office for a final meeting where they will give you a check from the firm trust account for the remaining amount owed to you. 

 

How much does my attorney usually keep for his fee?

 

Personal injury law is unique in that most attorneys work on what is called a contingency fee. This means that the attorney will take a certain percentage, usually one third, of the final settlement amount. The attorney will never charge you per hour or ask you to pay a retainer fee. No money should be coming out of your pocket, and all fees should be satisfied out of the settlement amount from the insurance company. If the case moves into litigation, meaning if the attorney files a lawsuit on your behalf, the fee may change slightly. This is because filing a lawsuit and moving the case into litigation requires more time and travel. In addition to the fee for the attorney, there will also likely be costs involved in your case that the attorney will pay out of the settlement amount separate from his or her fee. These costs can be for anything related to the case such as copying, postage, or paying for medical records from facilities you visited.

 

What should I do if I have been involved in an auto accident or slip and fall?

The most important thing to do following an auto accident or slip and fall is to make sure you are safe. Seek the medical treatment you need immediately following the incident first. The next thing you will want to do is seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney who can represent you in your fight for compensation. The attorneys at the Lopez Law Group are here to help you go up against the insurance companies and get the compensation you deserve. Give us a call today at 727-933-0015 and an experienced attorney will get on the phone with you and talk with you about your case. All consultations are free. It is important to do this as soon as you can following the incident, the longer you wait, the more it could potentially impact your case.