Do Lawyers Get Paid Before Medical Bills in California?

medical bill

If you were hurt due to another person’s negligence in California, you are entitled to seek fair compensation for your injuries. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your rights throughout the claims process is a wise move. But if you’re like most clients, you’re probably wondering, “When will my lawyer get paid?”

Who Gets Paid First — Doctors, Lawyers, or Me?

Most personal injury lawyers in California take cases on a contingency fee basis. That means that there’s no upfront charge for them to work on your claim. Instead, the attorney is only paid if your case wins.

Once you settle your California injury claim, several parties must be paid before receiving the final settlement check. This usually includes medical providers, health insurance companies, and, of course, your lawyer. Generally speaking, attorney fees are deducted from your settlement before other expenses are. You may also be responsible for certain case costs.

California Medical Liens

In California, medical providers have the right to place a lien against your injury claim. A lien is a type of legal claim that allows your creditors to collect any outstanding medical bills after your case settles.

A medical lien will typically be filed against your personal injury claim, which means healthcare providers are authorized to deduct payment for your unpaid medical expenses directly from your settlement money. An attorney could help you review the terms of a medical lien to ensure there are no hidden surprises for your claim.

How Much Will My Lawyer Take From My Settlement?

Your contingency fee agreement will outline the amount your lawyer gets paid if your case wins. This amount is expressed as an agreed-upon percentage of your ultimate settlement or trial award.

Most California personal injury lawyers charge contingency fees of around 33.33 percent, or approximately one-third of your settlement. This means if you obtained a $90,000 settlement, your lawyer would receive about $30,000 for their services. Keep in mind that the percentage may increase if the case goes to trial because of the extra litigation costs associated with preparing a personal injury lawsuit.

What Happens If My Case Is Unsuccessful?

Lawyers who work on a contingency fee basis only get paid if their clients do. If your personal injury claim is unsuccessful, you should not owe your attorney anything in legal fees.

However, you will likely still be obligated to pay off your medical liens and any other outstanding bills related to your injury. In some instances, you might be able to work out a manageable payment plan with your creditors, and an experienced lawyer can often assist with this process.

How Do Attorneys Collect Payment?

When your personal injury claim is settled, any money you receive is typically sent directly to your attorney by check. This is to ensure that your attorney is properly compensated for their work.

After your lawyer receives the settlement, they will deduct the appropriate amount for their legal fees and then distribute the rest of the money to you.

How Can Silverthorne Attorneys Help Me?

The Los Angeles personal injury lawyers at Silverthorne Attorneys are committed to transparency and communication with our clients. You’ll never wonder about your financial obligations to us. It will all be spelled out clearly in our fee agreement, and we’ll ensure that you fully understand the process as your case progresses. Call or contact our Orange County lawyers today for a free consultation.