On today’s Inside Look by Brooks, Steve Brooks talks about how much money you will get to keep out of your personal injury settlement.
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Good afternoon. Steve Brooks here from Friday’s Inside Look by Brooks. Today’s topic is “How Much Money Do I Get to Keep Out Of My Personal Injury Settlement?” That is the second most asked question I am asked. The first most asked is: “How Much Is My Case Worth?” Both of those are very tough questions to answer, but I am going to focus on the second question, and I’m going to give you a good lawyer answer: it depends!
Factor One: Attorney Choice
It depends on what attorney you choose, number one. This law group, Brooks Law Group is based on a contingency: we’re going to charge our fee only if we’re able to negotiate a settlement with an insurance company or go to a trial and get a verdict, and then get paid for that verdict, so you’ll never have to pay any upfront money for attorney’s fees or cost at the Brooks Law Group. Out of the total settlement, the first thing we’re going to deduct is cost for medical records, postage, and court report – the hard costs, and then the attorney’s fees. We charge based on the Florida Supreme Court approved form. So, the cost and fees…
Factor Two: Health Insurance
The other thing that needs to come out the settlement is if you used your health insurance to pay for any of your medical care, then your health insurance will probably have a lien against the settlement proceeds, and that’s all by contract. Your health insurance contract will probably provide that: if a third party runs a stop sign and causes injury to you and you ultimately have to go to the hospital and use hospital and doctors, insurance companies will look at themselves burdened, too because they’ve had to pay money because of this person’s negligence, so if you sue or go after that third-party and collect money, your health insurance has their hand out (and this all off contract) their entitled. If it’s Medicare that pays, Medicare has a statutory right to have a lien on the proceeds. And again, we’ll negotiate and pay Medicare out of the proceeds. If you happens to live in a county that has a lien hospital and you go to a lien hospital that has perfect their lien appropriately, those monies will have to come out of the settlement. Normally, when you have an auto accident in Florida, your PIP will pay for 80% of your medical care up to $10,000, but you still have a deductible, so if you have to pay out of pocket, most medical providers will forego collecting off that until the case is settled, but they want to be paid with the settlement money, so we want to leave our clients in good standing credit wise. We always advise to them to pay the monies outstanding that would fall under that deductible.
Factor Three: Lop
There will be times, when, as a client, you don’t have health insurance, but you desperately need medical care – surgery – far and above the $10,000 PIP will go. Some providers and doctors will accept an Letter of Protection. An LOP is a letter to the medical provider signed by you and me, the attorney, that says that if they provide that medical care, we promise to pay them proceeds from the settlement or jury verdict. So, those are the main areas that we’re required to subtract and pay out of the settlement proceeds, and then obviously after all your bills are paid, you, the client get the balance. So much of this is circumstantial – whether health care paid for everything, whether you have a LOP, whether it’s heavily litigated, whether you were involved in a case involving questionable liability, that case will be heavily litigated and your costs will be very high. Those are the consequences of litigation sometimes.
There are a lot of factors that goes into what has to ultimately be deducted. So, if you have questions about your settlement proceeds or about your personal injury case, you can email me at [email protected]. I will try to go along with you and answer any questions you have. Otherwise, I hope you have a great weekend and I’ll see you next Friday for Inside Look by Brooks. Thank you for joining me today.