At the end of the day, when everything is all said and done, it is my opinion that your attorney is responsible for wiping the slate clean. By that I mean that you should be compensated and all of your medical bills should be paid.
It would be a disservice for an attorney who represents people who have been injured to only write a check to you and write a check to himself for his attorney’s fees. This would leave you with the responsibility of paying all your medical bills. This is something that must be done. If it is not, then I am not exactly sure what legal services are being provided.
Among the other things that your attorney should be getting all your medical records and medical bills, evaluating them, finding out how much has to be paid to each of your healthcare providers, your insurance carrier, and whoever else. Your attorney’s goal should be to maximize the amount that the insurance company is willing to pay and to minimize the amounts that your health insurance carrier or any of your treating physicians are willing to accept.
This is true regardless whether your case is settled or tried before a jury. An attorney who represents people who have been seriously injured is going to be compensated on a contingency fee basis. What that means is that he gets paid when you recover. Your attorney is not going to expect you to pay him some amount upfront. You are not paying him by the hour for his time. You are not going to get a bill every month for the work he has done.
It is based on results, so there is an incentive for your attorney to try to recover as much for you as possible. There is a shared interest between you and your attorney that more is better, but it also has to be reasonable. You cannot arbitrarily come up with numbers, because we have to be able to justify them to an insurance adjuster, a judge, or a jury.
What Happens If Someone Dies As a Result of Injuries Sustained During a Pending Personal Injury Claim?
In Alabama, if a person is killed as the result of someone else’s negligence, their estate may also have a claim under Alabama’s Wrongful Death Act. Under Alabama’s Wrongful Death Act, the only remedy that is available is punitive damages. The deceased client’s estate cannot make a claim for his or her time missed from work, medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional distress, or mental anguish.
If the lawsuit is filed before the client passes away, the existing claims still survive and their estate may also have a claim under the Wrongful Death Act. The estate takes the deceased client’s place.
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