Legal Question in Personal Injury in Maryland

expenses, related to my settlement

I was in a car accident. My attorney is charging me 33 1/3 plus expensed. Equals 50 % of my settlement. I want to know legally what he can charge expenses for. He tryed to claim my wrist injury as part of the setttlement, but the insurance company said I don't have enought documented effidence to support the claim. After taking my attorney advise, ''week case''. We just settled for neck and back. His expenes are all related to investigating my wrist to evaluate the strengths of the claim. Why should I have to pay expenses that were not related to what I'm being offered a settlement on. Basicly thats my question

Asked on 5/15/09, 9:27 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Robert Sher Wagshal and Sher

Re: expenses, related to my settlement

You should have a copy of the retainer agreement that you and the attorney signed when you hired him. It should spell out what expenses you will be responsible for, in addition to the attorney's 1/3 contingency fee. Expenses are defined as costs incurred by the attorney on your behalf.

You didn't specify the nature of the expenses for which you were charged, but typically these could include the cost of obtaining hospital records and doctor reports. Some doctors charge several hundred dollars if they are requested to write a letter providing a medical opinion of the nature, extent and causal relationship of a particular injury to the accident. If the attorney actually incurred the expense on your behalf in order to obtain documentation of part of your claim, the fact that the insurance company refused to accept it doesn't relieve you of the expense of obtaining that documentation. As a practice, my retainer agreements provide that any expense that exceeds $100 must be approved in advance by the client, but perhaps your agreement did not contain such a provision.

If the attorney could not provide the necessary medical evidence supporting a connection between your wrist injury and the accident, then he properly advised you to settle based on your other injuries. If he had some evidence but the insurance company rejected it, you could have taken your chances in court, which is up to you.

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Answered on 5/15/09, 9:57 am

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