Legal Question in Personal Injury in Louisiana

Attorney billing other than contracted client

My wife is custodial parent of three children involved in car accident while her ex-husband (father of children)was driving. Ex-husband hires attorney on contigency to sue driver who hit him. Law firm loans ex-husband money to fight visitation changes initiated by wife. Settlements for each child sent to mother by check made to law firm and child (care of mother) along with instructions to endorse and return to law firm. Law firm sends checks, less fees and expenses totaling 53% of settlements to mother. Paperwork sent with checks includes statement that she would be responsible for any other expenses. Are we or the children required to pay for the attorney's services since we did not hire them, discuss fee arrangements or agree to their fee structure?

Asked on 4/24/02, 7:33 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

John Pfister, Jr. Pfister & Associates

Re: Attorney billing other than contracted client

I agree with other response. Under Texas law, a contingency contract must be in writing. You may be able to get some or all of the fee back if you have already paid it. Since you never signed the contract, you didnt have to use that attorney.\

Good luck

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Answered on 4/24/02, 11:49 pm
Nick Pizzolatto, Jr. Pizzolatto Law Office

Re: Attorney billing other than contracted client

The father may have hired the attorneys to represent his children. However, if the check came with your name written on them, the insurance company was of the impression you were the proper party to represent the children and that the attorney was representing you as well. Any contingency fee contract must be in writing so if you did not sign one, you do not owe it, and if you have "sole" custody, not "joint" custody, then you are the proper person to represent the minors. In any event, the settlement should have been approved by the court since it involved minors.

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Answered on 4/24/02, 7:50 pm

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