Q: In wrongful death case, should law firm be awarded a 1/3 contingency fee based on fault drivers required $25K auto insur
Insurance consists of ($25,000 is the amount required by state law minimum) along with deceased's own $25,000 under-insured motorist auto policy, resulting in law firm's award of $16,666.50 from the two policies totaling $50,000.00?
(The fault driver was ticketed for improper U-turn. Deceased was on motorcycle.)
Deceased's 2 sons and his widow each received only little over $9,000 after hospital lien of $5,000+ was subtracted second after contingency fee calculated first, i.e., calculation was $50,000 (from the two $25,000 insurance policies) less 1/3 law firm's contingency fee of $16,666.50 less hospital lien of around $5,000, then divided by 3 resulting in the beneficiaries amount of around $9,000 each, see following calculation:
-16,666.50 contingency fee
- 5,000.00 hospital lien (around)
=$27,000.00+ (divided 3 ways to beneficiaries)
A: If the law firm received a contingent fee, that fee would have to have been agreed by the widow and children in advance. Were they all over the age of majority when they signed the agreement? I would question the law firm's taking their fee from the $50 K settlement; they should have known or suspected that there would be a hospital lien. Was any mention of the hospital lien made in the contingent fee contract? If not,the settlement actually received would be ~ $45 K. The firm should get a third of that.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.