Some Morgan & Morgan Reviews Are Wrong, Part 2
In an earlier post, I said that some Morgan & Morgan reviews were wrong because some reviewers believed that an auto accident or other injury lawyer shouldn’t charge clients a percentage of their recovery. As I said before, that’s impossible.
One reviewer claimed that he didn’t receive a high enough percentage of the recovery for himself. I do not know the specific numbers in his case. But, many people do not know how the final number is calculated in Florida car accident & other personal injury cases.
How Are Car Accident & Other Personal Injury Settlements Calculated?
There are three main categories of fees & costs that MUST be deducted from any car accident or personal injury settlement or verdict: (1) attorneys fees (which I explained in this and this post); (2) costs; and (3) the clients’ medical bills.
What Are The Costs In Auto Accident & Other Injury Cases?
Costs (item #2) confuse some people. I don’t know how these are handled in other law firms. But, in my cases, I don’t earn a penny from costs. This is money that we must pay other people or companies to help with the case. Plus, we can’t do a good job without spending the money. The costs include things like paying a process server to serve a complaint, paying a court reporter to transcribe a deposition, or (the biggies) paying experts to testify in cases, such as medical doctors who must give their opinions. Sometimes we must have medical testimony to prove debatable injuries or causation of injuries. Trust me, doctors are VERY expensive, and they do not work on contingency.
In any event, cost involve required case work not typically performed by law firms. But, again at least in my firm, we get no money ourselves from paying them. Nothing. No kick-backs, which are not permitted, or anything else. Nothing. But we must spend this money to handle many cases. This is another aspect of our risk. Meaning, if we pay necessary costs, but you recover nothing, we recover nothing for our time. Plus, we lose whatever we spent in costs.
How Costs Can Be Minimized In Accident & Injury Cases
I do everything possible to minimize costs, including spending the least money possible until we are sure that the case isn’t going to settle. I am very sensitive to clients who do not understand these costs are necessary. Plus, no matter how much I explain, I still know that clients want and need the most money possible. So I am religious about minimizing these costs. Sometimes they are simply unavoidable. The bottom line is that we only spend this money when we think, in our best judgment, the client’s potential final outcome justifies the expense. That means we think the client will probably get more money in their pocket if we spend more.
How Are Medical Bills Paid From Accident & Personal Injury Settlements?
Clients also get confused sometimes by their own medical bills. Florida law requires us to pay these in most cases. They are part of the client’s recovery. In other words, the client can recover past and future medical bills caused by the car accident. But, if a health insurance company has paid these bills for the client, then we must repay the health insurance company BEFORE we pay the client. That means we must subtract that amount of money from the client’s settlement, then send a check to the health insurance company. Same thing for doctors or other medical providers who might have worked on credit, or have any outstanding balance. They have liens against the proceeds, and we must pay those.
Medical Bills From Auto Accident & Other Injury Cases Can Often Be Negotiated Lower
Another way we try to help clients is by negotiating existing medical bills with the health insurance companies and doctors. We do everything possible to reduce those amounts. We can often reduce the amount the client owes to health insurance companies by a large percentage. That puts more money in the client’s pocket.
In part 3, I will explain what I think has really caused a misunderstanding regarding fee & cost amounts for many Orlando injury attorneys and their clients.