Do personal injury lawyers get paid before medical bills?

Frequently Asked Questions

Do personal injury lawyers get paid before medical bills?

After a personal injury, there are a number of ways that medical bills may be paid, such as private health insurance, government health insurance, or “med pay” auto insurance.  Alternatively, some healthcare providers may be willing to provide treatment with a medical lien.  While the party who caused the accident is responsible for these medical bills, they may not accept liability immediately.  For this reason, medical bills are often covered by your own insurance or one of the options listed above.

When your case settles or you receive an award after a trial, the entity that paid your medical bills initially — such as your own health insurance company — will then have a right to be reimbursed.  This is known as a right to subrogation. They can seek repayment for your medical bills from the proceeds of your settlement or award.

Most California personal injury attorneys handle cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that they only get paid if you do.  Their attorneys’ fees will be deducted from your recovery, as a percentage of the total settlement or award (usually 30 to 40%).  The insurance company (or other entity) that initially paid for your medical bills will then seek reimbursement from the portion of your settlement or award that remains after your attorney’s fees are paid. 

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