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Ellen, Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
Satisfied Customers: 36714
Experience:  25 years of experience helping people like you.
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I received a partial settlement on a lawsuit and my lawyer

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I received a partial settlement on a lawsuit and my lawyer took out his percentage First. Then he paid out the expenses which in essence has me now paying 33% for expenses. Should he have reimbursed 3rd parties for their expenses first then take his percentage out? By taking his percentage first, I am now having to pay out of my pocket 33% for expenses to make up what they are owed.
*This chat is not intended as legal advice. It is general information that may or may not apply to your situation and should not be relied upon.*


Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do whatever I can to answer your questions!

Louisiana law requires that a contingency fee for a personal injury action be in writing. Do you have a written retainer agreement?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Let me see what I have

Great – Typical language would state the following: "33.3% of gross recovery if settled prior to filing suit"


Please let me know so we can continue our discussion

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Let me scan and attach rather than try to type it all in..


ok - please redact your identifying information
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Attachment: 2013-08-23_134343_fees2.pdf

Please let me know if you cannot see the image.

I have the document open. Please give me a moment to review
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

My thought process is this:

If I have $300,000 in medical expenses and ask for $150,000 in pain and suffering and receive these amounts I am paying out of my pocket for medical expenses.

Ex: From the $300k lawyer gets $100k and from the $150k he gets $50k. So I have to pay the insurance company back for medical expenses $300k. Now I have to take the $100k left from my pain and suffering and add to the medical expenses to pay them their full $300k.


I have to leave for about 30 minutes. I will be back then if that's ok?


Unfortunately the retainer agreement states that the fee will be based upon the gross settlement.

Paragraph 4 states in pertinent part: "All percentages shall be assessed upon the gross amount of any recovery. All costs and expenses incurred shall be paid from clients percentage".

It is not unusual that the contingency fee would be payable based upon the gross proceeds. However that said, often an attorney is willing to negotiate the costs in order to maintain the goodwill of a client

I would be glad to continue our conversation and respond to any follow-up questions that you may have.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX worried that would be the answer. Just seems Ethically they wouldn't be allowed to do something like that.

Thanks for the help.



I agree however Louisiana and most other states have ruled otherwise..

You can consider not accepting the settlement if you do not agree that your payout is sufficient. This may encourage the attorney to reduce his fees
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